to cross over or not to cross over

from the mp for selayang on the morality of corssing over.

The morality of crossing over
William Leong Jee Keen | Sep 17, 08 8:12pm

The Bar Council, Harris Ibrahim and Sean Ang are reported in theNew Straits Times on September 10 to have said that members of parliament crossing the floor to join another party is legal but immoral.

It is therefore necessary to draw the attention of the public to several fundamental principles with regard to the issue on the morality of MPs crossing the floor.

Crossing the floor to sit as a member of parliament in another political party is nothing new in parliamentary democracies. It has been described as the height of treachery. It has also been praised as the stuff which parliamentarian heroes are made of.

The great Sir Winston Churchill is perhaps the most famous parliamentarian to cross the floor and switch allegiance on more than one occasion.

There is no dispute that crossing the floor for money or personal gain is both immoral and a betrayal of the voters’ trust. However, when the MP crosses not for personal gain but in the interest and welfare of his constituents then he should be commended.

The argument that crossing is immoral is that the MP was elected on his erstwhile political party’s ticket and that is amounts to a fraud on his voters. This argument is founded on two assumptions. The first is that the MP’s seat belongs to the political party. The second is that the MP was voted in based on his party’s platform and policies.

The assumptions are wrong and the argument has failed to take into consideration several objectives and purposes of certain fundamental principles of a parliamentary constitutional system.

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Paul said…
It might be of interest to know that here in NZ, you vote separately for candidate and party. I am still trying to understand how this all works as I am eligible as a PR to vote in Nov

This means I can vote for a certain party due to their policies but choose to not to vote for the candiate of that party if I prefer the another candidate.
anthony said…
find out more and let us know. might be a better system than ours here in malaysia
Paul said…
check this link out
Bob K said…
New Zealand uses the Mixed Member proportional representation which is quite different from the Westminster system used in Malaysia and the UK.

The assumption under the latter system is that the representative in Parliament represents his or her constituency first with party affiliation very much a secondary consideration. Hence the existence of independent MPs.

One characteristic that you'd find in the Westminster system compared to a mixed member proportional system is that in the former, there is usually a larger disparity in terms of % of votes obtained and the % of seats occupied within the legislature.

For example, in Malaysia, the BN still retains control of 62.6% of the lower house despite its representatives garnering merely 52.2% of the popular votes. A more extreme development would be the 11th Parliament where the BN controlled 90.4% of the legislature with only 63.9% of the votes.

In the outgoing Parliament of NZ, the NZLP controls 41.3% of the legislature after having garnered 41.1% of the popular votes.

It would be more appropriate to view defection in NZ as being a technical betrayal of the voter's mandate compared to a similar situation in Malaysia.
anthony said…
thanks paul and bob for the enlightening differences in the way election and voting can be carried out. looks like a fairer system than the one we do here.

because of the election constituencies delineationed exercises done by the 'biased' election commission, the one in power always hold the upper hand.
Bob K said…
The NZ system definitely is much more representative, although I'm not sure if that makes it inherently fairer. The Westminster system has some strengths but it does require a more critical electorate despite being a much easier system to implement.
Paul said…
one of the problems I see (as someone new) with the MMP system is that if a party that wins the majority vote may not necessarily form the government. A party with say 46% of the popular vote can strike a power sharing deal with a few minor parties and have the majority to form the government

National here have "On principle" refused to work with NZ First due to their leader's arrogance and lack of acccountability. But if NZ First gets a certain % of the popular vote, (5%) they can broker a deal and they get a huge say because Labour would need them to form the government ..

Politics is complicated :-(
anthony said…
politicis not only complicated but makes strange bedfellows!

imagine, ex pm mahadtir now supporting his former nemesis ku li to be next umno chief and therefore next pm.