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To be effectively composed a Parliament, there should be a proper electoral system in the country for the citizens to elect their governors. The existence of electoral system is to allow the people to elect their governors of the finest achievements of democracy. There must be representatives in the Parliament for the people which are responsible, answerable, and accountable to the wishes of the society. However, there are many types of proper electoral system in the world. The practiced of the proper electoral system to compose an effective Parliament in Malaysia, the United Kingdoms (UK), and the United States (US) are different from each other.
In Malaysia, an elected Parliament was consisting of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (YDPA), the Dewan Negara and the Dewan Rakyat which provided under Art. 44 of Federal Constitution (FC). Provided by Art. 46 of FC, the Dewan Rakyat consists of 222 elected members and the allocation of its members is based on the states in Malaysia. Further, the Dewan Rakyat has a five-year tenure, in other words, a term for a Parliament is only five years. However, in practice, the elections are almost always called prematurely because of the Prime Minister’s (PM) power to advise the YDPA to dissolve the Dewan Rakyat prematurely under Art. 55(3) of FC. The Senator of Dewan Negara was unaffected by the dissolution because they were appointed by the YDPA on the advice of the PM.
Moreover, the simple plurality, first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting system was practicing in Malaysia as the proper electoral system to compose the Parliament. The election was conducted in each constituency as separated geographically. There are numbers of candidates those being contested either individually or nominees of political parties in each constituency. Normally, the candidates are representing for their respective political parties. Besides, a voter only entitled to have one vote with only one ballot held for each voter. On the ballot, there are few options were given and the voter is instructed to cross beside the party to which they wish to cast the vote for.
Furthermore, the general election conducted in each constituency is to vote for their Members of Parliament (MPs) to sit in the Dewan Rakyat as their representatives. They vote for the party based on the candidate’s list in their respective constituencies. To draw the result, the candidate with the most votes is declared as the winners of the election. Further, the party with majority candidates in the Dewan Rakyat will form the Parliament with the Dewan Negara, in other words, the winner of the party can form the government. The PM from the winner’s political party must command the confidence of the majority of MPs in the Dewan Rakyat.
On the other hand, the simple plurality voting system is currently practiced in the UK as the proper election system where Malaysia had adopted the principle of the FPTP from the country. There are similar features of the voting system in Malaysia and the UK where the general elections in the UK have conducted the constituencies of the country to elect their MPs who will be the representatives of the people in the House of Commons with a period of five years. There is only one vote with one ballot for each voter which is the same in Malaysia. Similarly, to Malaysia, the political party with most of the seats in the House of Commons at the general election is the winner and it will automatically form a new government for a new term of five-year and its leader becomes the PM. Likewise, the Members of House of Lords are appointed by the Queen on the advice of the PM.
On the contrary, there are 600 seats in the House of Commons in the UK’s Parliament that be deducted from 650 to 600 under the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011 (‘the Act’) while there are only 222 seats in Dewan Rakyat. Further, there is a limited area with not more than 13,000km? for each constituency as provided under S.11 rule (4)(1) of the Act and the numbers of voters must be within 5% of the electoral quota in each constituency under S.11 of rule (7)(2) of the Act in the UK where those limits aren’t provided in Malaysia. The limitations reflect the fairness of the general election to balance the numbers of voters with the surface areas of the election’s constituency.
Furthermore, the UK’s Parliament is promoting the commitment of free and fair general elections where the PM of the UK does not have the power to advise the Queen for dissolving the Parliament. The Parliament will automatically dissolve in a fixed five-year cycle which is contradicted in Malaysia that the PM has the power to advise the YDPA for the dissolution of Parliament. Moreover, the Electoral Commission in the UK practiced a more transparent election which established under the manifesto of the UK’s Labour Party in 1997. The Electoral Commission is separate from the Executive of the government which involves the MPs from the opposition party. However, in Malaysia, the Election Commission was established under Art. 114 of FC which the Election Commission involve only the PM’s department.
In the US, the proper general election that been practiced by the country was the same in Malaysia which is the simple plurality, FPTF voting system. However, the practiced of the FPTP is different from the practiced in Malaysia. The Parliament in the US was known as the Congress and its members are known as the Members of Congress. On the contrary, the general elections in the US are conducted for the people to elect their President of the country directly and was known as the Presidential Elections. Each voter will be given a ballot and they are instructed to cast their vote for their preference’s President instead of voting for the political party. The same principle of the FPTP voting system is applied where the candidate with the most votes is declared to be the President of the US.
In contrast to Malaysia, the President of the US is not allowed to dissolve the Congress even in times of war. The general elections in the US are conducted in every four-year while in Malaysia is in every five-year. Besides, there are two separate chambers of the Congress namely the Senate and the House of Representatives which established under the Constitution of the United States of America 1789 (‘the Constitution). Two people will be elected from each of the states in the US as the representatives in the Senate. Currently, there are 100 representatives in the Senate since there are 50 states in the US and they are elected to serve for a six-year term.
On the other hand, the members of House of Representatives of the congressman or congresswoman, each of them is elected for a two-year term to serve the people of a specific congressional district. The number of representatives in each state is proportionate to population. Both minimum and maximum number for the House of Representatives are provided under Art.1, S.2 of the Constitution. Presently, the number of representatives with full voting rights is 435. A representative to be elected must be at least 25 years old, a US citizen for at least 7 years and an inhabitant of the state that he or she represents.
To be concluded, although the UK and the US were practicing the FPTP voting system as in Malaysia, however, some of the features are different from Malaysia. The principles of practicing the FPTP are mostly similar between Malaysia and the UK. Nevertheless, the commitment of free and fair election was emphasized in the UK rather than in Malaysia. The UK has the formula under the Act to construe the areas of the constituency to balance the numbers of people with the surface areas of each constituency, while there is no such formula to allocate the areas of each constituency but only separate geographically in Malaysia. Besides, in the US, the FPTP was practiced in the Presidential Elections which is totally different from Malaysia which conducted to elect the MPs in the Parliament. In the US, the election is in every 4 years however, there is a five-year cycle for each election in Malaysia. Further, the Member of House of Representatives is elected according to the specific congressional district for a two-year term to serve the people.
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