Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Why Lim Guan Eng Wants Anti-Hopping Laws

The common opinion on both sides of the political fence is Pakatan Rakyat will retain Penang in the coming state elections.

Is this an unshakeable opinion?

This was what Penang PKR and deputy chief minister, Datuk Mansor Othman, is recently reported to have said when he labelled Guan Eng ‘arrogant’,
On whether the DAP has requested any seats from PKR, Mansor is quoted as saying he would not budge on that. He said PKR’s Chinese candidates are seen as a “threat” to the DAP.

“He (Guan Eng) is very arrogant, I tell you… cocky and arrogant. It is not easy. Now more arrogant,” Mansor says about the DAP secretary-general.

They (the DAP) are sure of winning 19 (seats) and they want more. Because with two more (seats) they can form their own government and they can take from us (PKR reps) to be on their side and (then) abandon us (PKR),” the minutes quote him as saying.
What did Datuk Mansor mean by PKR’s Chinese candidates are seen as a “threat” to the DAP?

There is no logical reason. After all, PKR and DAP are ruling coalition partners in Penang.

And what did he mean by "It is not easy" and followed by “They (the DAP) are sure of winning 19 (seats) and they want more. Because with two more (seats) they can form their own government.."?

In the context of cocky and arrogance, it could mean that Lim Guan Eng is so arrogant, he is cocksure of retaining all the 19 seats the DAP now holds, not thinking that DAP could lose some seats. With two more seats, DAP would have 21 seats and the majority all on it's own.

Presently, the Penang state assembly has 40 seats with the DAP holding 19, PKR 9 and UMNO 11 respectively. PAS has only a single seat in Permatang Pasir.

All it takes is 10 seats and BN will be returned to administer the state. All 11 seats in the state assembly had been won by UMNO .

With growing sentiment and increased support for BN and as prominent blogger, OutSyed The Box, suggests of a waning Anwar Ibrahim, and mounting disatisfaction of the DAP, it is a distinct possibility that UMNO would do better and win 2 seats from the PKR in Sungai Bakap and Batu Maung for the BN coalition.

The BN coalition could also wrest 5 other seats, in Machang Bubuk, Bukit Tengah, Kebun Bunga, Pantai Jerejak and Batu Uban, from the PKR.

And retake 5 seats from the DAP in Tanjong Bunga, Pulau Tikus, Berapit,Datok Keramat and Seri Delima.

That is a total of a 12 seats, two more than needed, to unseat the Pakatan Rakyat.

This is based on the 2004 elections, when these seats were won by BN convincingly, and 2008 results when it lost fewer than 2000 votes.

DAP is definitely not in a happy state of affairs in Penang as the Datuk Mansor disclosures show and also in Selangor.

The question would be, where does anti-hopping factor into all of this?

It becomes a factor if BN falls a few seats short of the 10 needed.

That is what Datuk Mansor meant by "threat" of the Chinese PKR candidates, switching sides. That is why Lim Guan Eng wants 2 more seats from the PKR. Datuk Mansor's remarks could also mean Lim Guan Eng has no confidence of PKR retaining their seats and the DAP has a better chance. Then there would be no worries of any crossing over as the issue would not arise.

The next question would be, if anti-hopping is unconstitutional and the federal government has no plans to outlaw it, why is Lim Guan Eng taking all the trouble?

It only confirms his true intentions, knowing it is not enforceable, he and the DAP are giving the impression that those crossing over to the BN would then be dishonourable people who have betrayed the electorate.

Readers can say all of the above is moot.

But consider this, by objecting to any party hopping laws the BN government is also vulnerable and has got more to lose by defections of it's state assemblymen and especially members of parliament which would result in a change of federal government.

This is an irrefutable fact borne out at Pakatan Rakyat’s Malaysia Day celebration on 15 September 2008 with Anwar insisting he had enough Barisan MPs to form government, had sought a meeting with former PM Badawi to discuss a smooth transition of power with a letter signed by all Pakatan Rakyat leaders for the former premier to respond.

Among the thousands who attended the rally were DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.

Lim Kit Siang and son, Lim Guan Eng, did not think party hopping was unethical or morally wrong at the time.

In fact, elder Lim reportedly went on to say it “did not matter whether the change is 916 (Sept 16), 1016 (Oct 16), 1116 (Nov 16) or 1216 (Dec 16)” and “What is important is for all of us to be united to make the change happen”.

So why would the BN government NOT support any party hopping laws when it has more to lose being the ruling party and why is Lim Guan Eng, DAP and Co insisting on such laws?

Excerpts from "Laws Against Party Switching, Defecting, or Floor-Crossing in National Parliaments",
However, parliamentary party leaders may value anti-defection laws for a darker purpose—to bolster control of their members. Backers of anti-defection laws rarely point out this consequence.

Established democracies value the freedom of individual parliamentary members to switch parties. They regard switching parties as compatible with democratic values and see anti-defection laws as infringements on political freedoms.

Outlawing party defections in constitutions invites observers to speculate about the framers’ intentions. Was it to produce competitive party systems or to consolidate power within existing parties? It is an important question for nations considering anti-defection laws.
Indeed, Lim Guan Eng's motives is a dark purpose — to bolster control of the DAP members and consolidate power within the party.

Barisan Nasional parties do not worry about it's members switching sides and definitely do not impose undemocratic means to control it's members that will determine a government, state or federal.

No comments: