Electoral Reform Committee calls for law to prevent ‘forced’ by-elections

PORT DICKSON: A law should be introduced to prevent lawmakers from vacating their seats and forcing a by-election for political interest.

Election Reform Committee (ERC) chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman (pix) argued that engineering by-elections should not be allowed unless it was in the event of a death or the incumbent being disqualified.

He said while the matter was not under the control of the Election Commission (EC), it was necessary to avoid waste of public fund and abuse of mandate by the people.

“There should be a law, not just preventing, but to control these kinds of things from happening, unless it is really necessary,” he told a press conference, here, today.

“Maybe this law should be introduced under the parliament because he is an MP anyway,” he added.

Most recently, PKR's Datuk Danyal Balagopal Abdullah vacated his seat to allow Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to make his political comeback, leading to the ongoing Port Dickson by-election.

This “PD Move” has led to criticism from various quarters, in particular, those from the opposition and the public.

Anwar's opponents in the Port Dickson by-election have also on several occasions used this as a campaigning weapon against the PKR president-elect.

Abdul Rashid, however, said the EC's hands are locked over the matter as it does not fall under the commission's jurisdiction, and that it (EC) was only concerned about handling elections.

“No election laws in any country can prevent this from happening. To me, it should not be the EC's job. They should not interfere.

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“That (matter) will be taken care of by other laws, but not the election laws,” he said.

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