Today Nurul Izzah issued a tweet which beguiled us all. She has the belief that Barisan Nasional is effectively a minority government. Although her loose coalition of DAP, PKR and PAS had the majority of the votes, she felt shortchanged for the fact that her ambition to see her father installed as the Prime Minister is curtailed yet again. This also implies, in her own mind that the current government does not have the legality to govern this country.
With this blatant misconception of truth and apparent lack of knowledge on the current Malaysian voting system have raised a few unsavoury spectres most notably the Pakatan’s resident spaniel, Haris Ibrahim who told us that his group will topple Barisan Nasional government by end of this year.
As a background, in the just concluded general election, Barisan Nasional received 46.9% of votes while parties in Pakatan Rakyat received 50.9%. There was approximately 4% difference amounting to 361,000 votes. Basically, out of 13 million registered voters in Malaysia, BN managed to get 5.3 million votes while DAP, PAS and PKR managed to get 5.6 million votes. About 2 million voters did not vote in the recent general election.
Now this is where Nurul Izzah and the rest of the leaders in Pakatan Rakyat (including lawyers) got it wrong.
Our election system is not through popular voting. We vote via a parliamentary system.
Among the countries that use pure parliamentary system are Canada, Turkey, Austria, Germany, Italy, Israel, Australia, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, and India.
Even the United States uses electoral system, and not popular votes to choose its President.
So how exactly does Malaysia and the nations that use parliamentary system select their government? In layman terms, it is like this:
The country is divided into districts or, parliamentaries. All registered voters will select one candidate from a particular political party as winner in each parliamentary and this winner will represent them in the Parliament (the Dewan Rakyat).
A party with the majority of winners in the combined parliamentary seats (all 222 of them) will become the federal government. That is why, in our democracy, getting the majority of seats (as opposed to getting the majority of votes) is important. The reason for this is purely simple – it protects the rights of the people in the less populated states and is a cornerstone of our federal vs states relationship.
Didn’t opposition leaders tell us too many times that it is time to decrease federalism in this country?
Wouldn’t it be unfair if what Nurul Izzah is propagating is accepted as the basis to form a government, then the battle to become Federal Government is decided by the people in west coast Malaysia and not by the rest of Malaysia!
The recent statistics in our last general election are simple to read – DAP won bigger majorities in seats within urban areas while Barisan Nasional won bigger number of seats but with much, much smaller majorities. As a matter of fact, the combined majority of Teresa Kok and Kim Kit Siang is already 65,000 votes. Hence, the opposition garnered bigger number of votes but obtained smaller number of seats.
This is possible because we work in the current operating system called, the parliamentary system. Let’s put this into perspective – you have been using the iPhone and living under the iOS system all this while and yet when things didn’t go your way, you complain about the iPhone because it doesn’t use the Android system.
That argument is impractical and inconsequential.
The ultimate fact, which no matter how the opposition trying to spin is, Barisan Nasional won bigger number of seats and that fact is enough for it to form the Federal Government in the parliament.
So what is the correct definition of a popular voting? It is actually irrelevant in the context of Malaysian democracy system.
For whatever reason people lose, the delusion that they had won the general election is perhaps the most pathetic kind of excuse for a sore loser could come up with.
Even their lawyers got the term ‘minority government’ wrong. Minority government simply means, when a political party or coalition of parties does not have a majority of overall seats in the parliament but is sworn into government to break a hung parliament election result.
Simply put, Barisan Nasional is neither a minority government nor the fact that it doesn’t have the legality to form a government. It fulfils both criteria and what Nurul Izzah must understand is that ignorance of our electoral system is not a good sign of a leader with a sound mind, particularly since she is a parliamentarian herself.
Better yet, we seriously do not need a Pakatan gangster in the form of Haris Ibrahim who strongly claimed they will topple the government by this year because they are too impatient and too greedy to wait:
“We will take to the streets and take over Putrajaya. If we really want to overthrow them, there is no other way. Democracy does not work. The people cannot wait anymore. We don’t want to wait another five years. We will take the streets.”
Ironic that people who extol democracy and freedom to choose are the ones who refuse to believe in those things. Orwell’s Animal Farm comes to mind. I believe we have found another Napoleon, the pig.