Fixed dates for elections

— P. Ramakrishnan
The Malaysian Insider
Mar 14, 2012

MARCH 14 — Aliran executive committee members have a discussion before making their submissions to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reforms

Elections should not be a cat-and-mouse game. It should never be a guessing game either. There should be a definite predetermined date that is publicly disclosed so that everyone knows the date of the next general election.

This is practised by a number of countries which have a fixed date for the election. Among them are Norway and Switzerland with fixed dates. Canada and its provinces (Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Northwest Territories) have implemented fixed-term elections too.

In the United Kingdom the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 fixes the general election on the first Thursday in May every five years. Elections to the European Parliament occur every five years in June.

Presidential elections in the United States occur every four years on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November. Germany, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) have semi-fixed terms in that dissolution at any time in mid-term is allowed only to resolve serious deadlock.

It is noted that “predetermined or fixed election dates have the advantage of fairness and predictability”. Though the Barisan Nasional may not be in favour of this (as under the present practice, it can surprise the Opposition by calling for a snap election when the circumstances are favourable to it, the BN must be realistic and see the advantage in this when it becomes the Opposition after the 13th GE!

Too much time and money is wasted in trying to create a favourable situation to call for an election. The recent budget is a good example of how voters are being bribed for the BN’s benefit. Households earning less than RM3,000 were in no better position in 2009, 2010 and 2011 but this is being attended to only in 2012 just before the 13th GE!

The RM500 may assist them in January but does their hardship disappear after that? What about the next 11 months? If this was a long-term solution for the whole of this year and the years after that, then there is no ground to accuse the BN of bribing the voters!

We recommend fixed dates for elections. —

  1. #1 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Thursday, 15 March 2012 - 5:42 pm

    Agree totally.
    No good reason to keep the election date floating in the head of the PM.
    Pin it onto the board for everyone to see.
    That would be fair.

  2. #2 by tak tahan on Thursday, 15 March 2012 - 7:31 pm

    When can we have another activist group(NGO) to push for this reform?What about a new t-shirt with yellow and green colour?

  3. #3 by Winston on Thursday, 15 March 2012 - 7:38 pm

    Ah, what UMNO/BN can unto PR, PR can do unto them!!!

  4. #4 by on cheng on Thursday, 15 March 2012 - 8:45 pm

    Even not fixed, then the range of date should not be so long as 2 years (now it is between 3 years n 5 years from the last election??)
    This current system is real crazy n nonsense !!
    The range of date should not be more than 3 months (if cannot have fixed date)

  5. #5 by mauriyaII on Saturday, 17 March 2012 - 9:20 am

    Only countries that care for the welfare of its people and those in power willing to hear the voice of the people would be brave enough to fix a date for elections which does not give undue advantage to any party.

    In Malaysia the ruling government feels it has the legitimate and moral right to do as it pleases because it is run by UMNOputras. They only need the people (for their votes) during election time. Then it is back to plundering, raping, piratizing even essential services to inflate their bank balances.

    When the country’s PM calls on his supporters to do anything and everything even if it means bloodshed just to hold on to power, what message is he conveying to the people and the international community? He feels it is his birth right to roughshod over everyone. Only his position is prioritized.

    Can such a person and the subservient EC even consider fixing a date for GE so that every political party would have a level playing field?

    UMNO has always played by its rules, favourable only to UMNO/BN. In fact they play using two sets of rules for the same game where heads they win and tails they win too!

    The only way forward is to exert pressure after pressure through peaceful public demonstration such as BERSIH to drive home the point that Malaysia is not an ancestral inheritance to be passed on from one generation to the other.

    Malaysia belongs to its people and not to any dynasty or political party.

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