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Fair Elections: From Level Playing Field to Seat-Vote Disproportionality Wong Chin Huat PhD Candidate, University of Essex "FREE, FAIR AND TRANSPARENT.

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Presentation on theme: "Fair Elections: From Level Playing Field to Seat-Vote Disproportionality Wong Chin Huat PhD Candidate, University of Essex "FREE, FAIR AND TRANSPARENT."— Presentation transcript:

1 Fair Elections: From Level Playing Field to Seat-Vote Disproportionality Wong Chin Huat PhD Candidate, University of Essex "FREE, FAIR AND TRANSPARENT ELECTIONS - THE WAY FORWARD". A Transparency International Workshop January 24, 2008 Wisma Pantai, KL

2 Free and Fair Elections Free and Fair Elections: Polling Level Playing Fields –Campaign freedom –Campaign Finance –Administrative Neutrality –Media Freedom Electoral System –Seat-vote Proportionality –Functional Representation Electoral Administration

3 Campaign Freedom Malay(si)ans had the longest campaign period under the British (1955) and the shortest under PM Abdullah Badawi (2004).

4 Campaign Freedom Freedom of Expression –Censorship (ISA, Sedition Act, PPPA, Election Offences Act – Section 4A) –Denial of Freedom of Information (OSA) Freedom of Peaceful Assembly –Selective issuance of police permit (Police Act) –Lack of access to public premises Freedom of Association –Denial of party registration (Societies Act) –Prohibition of political activities (UUCA)

5 Campaign Finance Election Offences Act –Section 8 Treating –Section 10 Bribery –Section 15 Payment of Expenses Through Election Agent –Section 15A Prohibition of Certain Expenses On electioneering and advertisements except by candidate and agents –Section 19 Maximum Expenses RM 200,000 for Parliamentary contest RM 100,000 for state contest –Section 21 Restriction on Employment Only election agent, polling agents, clerk and messengers are allowed

6 Campaign Finance Estimate of Actual expenses (1980s) –RM 2 Million for Parliamentary Expenses –RM 1 Million for State Expenses What’s wrong with the law? –Ineffective monitoring of ‘contribution’ in labour and in kind; –Taking candidates and not parties as accounting unit; –EC’s passive acceptance of election expenses returns

7 Campaign Finance Effective governance of campaign finance? Two Principles –Transparency –Limitation on influence-buying by interest groups

8 Campaign Finance Five Recommendations: –Remove the ineffective expense caps –Demand highest transparency on all contributions and expenses Monitoring of influence-buying made possible Monitoring of GLC’s expenses in elections –Set contribution caps –Taking both parties and candidates as accounting unit –State financing

9 Administrative Neutrality Corruption = Abuse of Public Office for Private Gain Are these not corruptions? Caretaker Government Announce Development Projects to Fish for Votes in General Elections; National/State Governments Announce Development Projects to Fish for Votes in By-Elections; Denial of development funds for opposition-held constituencies; Use of government planes, vehicles and other facilities for campaigning purposes; Selective investigation, arrest and prosecution to intimidate opponent supporters; Harassment of and political witch hunt after opponent supporters

10 Administrative Neutrality Administrative Neutrality Act Caretaker Government’ Conduct in General Elections; Prohibition of Electoral Targeting Expenditure in By-Elections; Restriction on the use of and access to state apparatus and resources; Prevention of partisan interpretation and enforcement of laws and executive power (including political witch hunts).

11 Electoral System Malapportionment

12 Electoral System Combined Effect of Malapportionment, Gerrymandering and Distribution of Partisanship

13 Electoral System Insensitivity: Big Swing May Have Little Effect

14 Electoral System Descriptive Representation in Dewan Rakyat: Women: 22 (10%) Ethnic Minorities: –Indian: 9 (4.11%) –West Malaysian Orang Asli: 0 (0.00%) Public Interest Groups –Trade Unionists: 0 (0.00%) –Environmentalist: 0 (0.00%)

15 Electoral System Proposed Principles: –Proportionality –Sensitivity to change –Invulnerability to Electoral Manipulations –A Balance of Geographical and Descriptive Representation

16 Electoral System Mixed Member Proportional (Germany, New Zealand) Votes: 1 for Constituency; 1 for Party List MPs: 50% from Constituencies; 50% from Party List Allocation: –Party Votes determine the total seats of parties; –Party List Seats = Total Seats – Constituency Seats Advantages: –Reflecting political pluralism (proportionality) –No proliferation of parties, if necessary with threshold (political stability) –Not vulnerable to electoral manipulations like malapportionment, gerrymandering, phantom voters, transfer of voters, etc. (probity) –Inclusion of women, minorities and NGOs representatives (representation)

17 Electoral System

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19 PartiesVote % Total MPs (New) Const. MPs (original) Party List MPs (new) BN63.9% PAS15.2%68662 DAP9.9% PKR8.9%40139 Total97.9% Others2.1%110 Total100% Hypothetical Replay of 2004 Elections Under MMP (Threshold = 5%)

20 Conclusion Level Playing Field –Campaign Freedom –Campaign Finance –Administrative Neutrality Electoral System Thank you


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