Even before the summer Olympics Games in Tokyo, Malaysia has earned a gold medal in ‘jumping’ – jumping parties, that is.
Over the last few weeks, we have seen more opposition elected representatives and even a political party enthusiastically joining the Sheraton coup plotters in embracing the government of the day.
This means that the present government, in power for a year, can just about claim to have the barest of majorities.
Were we even surprised by the recent party-‘jumpers’, which regrettably included individuals we assumed would use the electoral mandate given to them as lawmakers to protect the democratic process?
This spate of party defections is hardly surprising because this phenomenon has have been around for a long time. Our political system has been plagued with unending scandals, allowing plenty of room for certain unscrupulous politicians to manoeuvre or “make hay while the sun shines”.
So yes, when they jump, they say it is primarily about strengthening the government during the coronavirus pandemic and supporting their constituency. But who really gains from the ‘gold medal’?
Party-jumping is unacceptable. Civil society and many concerned Malaysians have been calling for elected representatives to uphold accountability and responsibility. Many have also demanded a law to curb such party defections.
Unfortunately, we have a long way to go to uphold democratic processes that will serve the people’s interests and wellbeing. Without the political will to act fast to rein in failing leaders and corrupt politicians, it will be impossible to stop this ‘jumping’ virus and reform our political system and culture.
Carol Yong is an activist and independent writer