Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Masing: Make law to prevent by-elections

Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Dato Sri Dr James Masing yesterday suggested that a law be passed to prevent by-election caused by the resignations of elected representatives out to test public opinion.
He said there should also be provision to prevent the resignations of elected representatives seeking to test the popularity of his or her party.
By-elections resulting from such resignations are a waste of public funds and should not be allowed, said the Baleh assemblyman and Land Development Minister.
“The party involved in (such attempt to) force unnecessary by-election should be penalised,” he told The Borneo Post in Kuching when commenting on the resignation of Penanti (Penang) assemblyman Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin, the former Penang Deputy Chief Minister I. Masing said: “I suggest a law be passed to prevent future occurrence of this nature.”
He said he was sad to note that currently some people are trying to abuse the practice of parliamentary democracy.
Masing said: “The practice of parliamentary democracy is something that people should respect. It is done or invented so that the public would have a chance to participate in democracy and the election process.”
He described the Penanti by-election – should it be called later as unnecessary.
“To hold it would be a waste of public funds and abuse of the practice of parliamentary democracy. The party so involved in calling for it unnecessarily should be penalised,” he claimed. He said in the Penanti case, a by-election was unnecessary because Mohammad Fairus had yet to be charged or convicted for graft allegations.
“Until and if that happens, then only should we be calling for the by-election,” said Masing.
“A by-election should also be called in any constituency when the incumbent suddenly passes away, is found to be a bankrupt or convicted of any serious crime,” he said. PRS is a component of the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.
Last Saturday in Pekan, Pahang, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said he did not want to play game with the opposition, saying politics is a serious matter. The Umno president said the by-election was clearly the opposition’s political game.
The BN must first consider whether the by-election would benefit the people or otherwise, he said, adding that he was not ruling out the possibility that the BN would just ignore the Penanti by-election.
Most BN loyalists said the Penanti by-election was part of a political game of the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) to psyche themselves up that people are behind them

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