(Petaling Jaya, Sunday):
calls for the withdrawal of the Election Amendment Bill to empower the
quadrupling of election deposits from the present RM5,000 to RM20,000 as it will
be bad law and worse parliamentary precedent.
Minister in the Prime Ministerís Department, Datuk Dr. Rais Yatim has said
that the new amount on the election
deposit will not be implemented with immediate effect as the RM20,000 is the
ceiling or maximum amount that can be imposed anytime in the future without the government having to amend the election laws every time it
wished to raise the deposit.
is a most unacceptable argument, making complete nonsense of the important principle
of parliamentary accountability, scrutiny and oversight, as going by Raisí
logic, Parliament might as well give a blank cheque to allow the government to
raise election deposits to any level it wants in the future, whether it be
RM100,000 or RM200,000 without having to refer back to Parliament.
the same Rais logic, it is not necessary for Parliament to waste public funds to
meet to discuss legislation, but to give a blank cheque to the Cabinet to enact
whatever laws it deems fit - as the
parliamentary stage of legislation-making has become a purely mechanical
and rubber-stamping process which does not allow for constructive participation,
input or amendment by Members of Parliament in all three readings of a bill in
the Dewan Rakyat.
Election Amendment Bill to empower the quadrupling of the election deposit to RM20,000 is bad law and worse
parliamentary precedent -
as the present RM5,000 election deposit, excluding Singapore, is already the highest in the Commonwealth, being twice the
election deposit for the United Kingdom, ten times higher for Australian and
Canadian Parliamentary candidates and more than 30 times higher for
the New Zealand parliamentary election deposit.
There can be no justification whatsoever for the proposal to increase the RM5,000 election deposit all the way to RM20,000 when the urgent task is to halve the election deposit to check the unhealthy trend of elections in Malaysia degenerating into a money game as is already evident in the first day of the Ketari by-election in Pahang. Last night, Gerakan organised over 200 tables of dinner in two areas for voters in Ketari, which by themselves would have broken the election law limiting election expenditures for each state assembly candidate to RM30,000 on pain of commiting an election offence.