Bersih 2.0: Elected representatives should not betray the people’s mandate

Media Statement (28 January 2014)

BERSIH 2.0 finds it wholly unacceptable that a State Assemblyperson has resigned “to benefit” his political party. Kajang ADUN Lee Chin Cheh’s resignation is nothing short of a betrayal of trust, given that less than eight months ago, the people of Kajang voted him in on the premise that he would remain the state assemblyperson for the next five years.
The reason for Lee’s resignation on 27 Jan 2014, reported in the media as to “benefit PKR as a whole”, reflects poor judgement on the part of the candidate as well as the party he belongs to. It is shocking that PKR consented to Lee’s resignation and is fielding its de facto leader Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim in the by-election. This reeks of dirty politics and should be condemned.
It must be reminded that the first and foremost duty of an elected representative is towards the people in his/her constituency and not to his/her political party. Thus, the only acceptable reason for elected representatives to resign is when he/she is not able to carry out the mandate given to him/her – i.e. to serve the people.
Lee’s reason for stepping down does not put the people’s interest at the forefront. There is little difference between the actions of Lee and the actions of former DAP Assemblyperson Hee Yit Foong in the 2009 Perak Constitutional Crisis. Both actions are equally deplorable. It is disappointing that PKR, one of the victims of the 2009 Perak Constitutional Crisis, is the key player in this sorry saga.
BERSIH 2.0 is appalled that a by-election would have to be called and public funds would be unnecessarily wasted because of the whims and fancies of a few. No amount of political spinning will hide the fact that on 27.1.2014, the interest of the Kajang people took a backseat.This is a regressive step for democracy because it supports the mistaken notion in Malaysia that elections are about political parties and politicians rather than about the people.
BERSIH 2.0 would like to remind all politicians and their parties that the people’s trust should not be up for manipulation. The mandate given to an elected representative by the people is something that should not taken for granted. It is disappointing that in the midst of this political merry-go-round, the people’s interest, like many times before, is forgotten.
Issued by: The Steering Committee of BERSIH 2.0 which comprises:
Maria Chin Abdullah, Dr Farouk Musa, Masjaliza Hamzah, New Sin Yew and Farhana Halim.