PUTRAJAYA, Feb 13 – The Election Commission (EC) will study the need and proposal to amend the penalty on elected representatives who resign without any logical reason.
Its chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof said an amendment for a heavier penalty was necessary to check the spread of the “disease” to other elected representatives, as it was immoral and incurred costs.
“This matter (amending the law) is not within the EC’s jurisdiction, but in the hands of politicians. It is not easy to amend the law but the EC hopes an elected representative would consider taking up the matter to Parliament.
“However, we will think of something if it (resigning without a valid reason) persists,” he told Bernama, here, today.
He said EC received many suggestions on the matter after Kajang assemblyman Lee Chin Cheh quit on Jan 27, to make way for opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to contest the state seat in a by-election, which had been fixed for March 23.
“We hope the Kajang case is an isolated one. We don’t want to have a situation or culture where people resign to let their leader, brother, friend or girlfriend to have the chance of becoming an elected representative, as it’s an abuse of the democratic process.
“It’s also tiring for everyone to have too many by-elections.”
Under the existing laws, such as the Federal Constitution (Article 48(6)) and provisions in the state constitutions, anyone who steps down as a member of parliament (MP) or state assemblyman, will be disqualified from becoming an MP or assemblyman for five years, effective from the date of his resignation.
Abdul Aziz said the Kajang by-election was unnecessary as Lee had won with a big majority of 6,824 votes in the last general election and would have no problems serving the constituency for five years as he had reportedly done a good job so far, but unfortunately, he quit after only eight months.
“The EC does not regret it if he (Lee) had resigned for allowable reasons like having health or personal problems.
“In several countries, a vacated seat would be replaced by the candidate who had the second highest number of votes, but it is not practised here,” he said.