Political reform for Malaysia is overdue

Since its formation in 1963, Malaysia has undertaken huge reform programmes in welfare rationalisation and ease of doing business. However, there has been no substantial reform in our political system. We have more-or-less been maintaining the same political system since independence. The Undi18 and automatic registration reforms are the lowest hanging fruit. Here are four overdue political reforms that need to be executed.

1. Proportional Representation (PR)

The current First Past The Post (FPTP) system has become irrelevant as people are voting for parties and political ideologies. However, FPTP effectively locks out all new parties and ideologies. Historically, FPTP benefits super-rich parties worldwide, even if they are unpopular with a large number of voters. PR consolidates the votes nationwide, allowing for new progressive politics to enter Parliament such as environmentalism, gender issues, youth issues, farmers issues, anti-poverty politices etc. If we adopt PR, the politics of compromise in Malaysia will begin to switch to a politics of consensus.

2. Local Council Elections

Restoration of local council elections is overdue. It has been stymied by fearmongering over racial composition sowed by Dr. Mahathir. The State Legislative Assembly (DUN) should elect 1/3 of representatives to ensure fair representation for races, disability status, Orang Aslis, single parents, youth etc. The remaining 2/3 councillors should be elected through the ballot box.

3. Fixed Political Cycle (29th February)

There should be constitutional amendments mandating simultaneous elections for all levels of government on 29th February during the leap year. Malaysia suffers from serious political uncertainty through snap polls, election dates, and multiple elections. Currently, the PM and CMs dictate the election date. The current duration of our political cycle is 5 years, which is too long. Having elections simultaneously (for state, local and federal offices) will reduce election costs. The caveat is that GE-15 will have to be postponed by another 4.5 months.

4. Reduce Federal Territories

It is time for Labuan and Kuala Lumpur to be returned to Sabah and Selangor respectively. This improves policy cohesiveness and lightens the Federal Government administrative burden. The federal parliament and government offices in Duta could be shifted to the underutilised PICC and Cyberjaya complexes. Putrajaya FT could expand by annexing Cyberjaya. Dr. Mahathir’s Labuan project has been diverting petroleum wealth from Sabah to the federal government. This changed Sabah from the richest state in the 70s into the poorest state today, causing discontent amongst Sabahans.

SHARAN RAJ
Central Committee
Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
&
State Chairperson
Parti Sosialis Malaysia Negeri Melaka (PSM Melaka)

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