Wanita PKR backs proportionate representation, says will boost poll spots for women

Kenneth Tee
Wanita PKR president Haniza Mohamed Talha delivers her speech during the PKR Women’s National Congress in Melaka December 6, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

AYER KEROH, Dec 6 ― Wanita PKR chief Haniza Mohamed Talha said expressed support for the proportionate representation system proposal from the Electoral Reform Committee (ERC).

Saying the move would increase women's participation in elections, she noted that the proposal came from PKR that mooted the Party List Proportional Representation and the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) electoral system to the ERC.

Haniza said there were glaring weaknesses in the existing “first-past-the-post” system (FPTP) used in Malaysia’s elections now.

Among this was that it discouraged parties from fielding women candidates, she said.

“With the MMP system, we are able to field more candidates and women in the newly reformed electoral system.

“ERC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman had made a note on this when we met him in July and showed interest in our proposal,” she said in a press conference after her speech at the Wanita PKR congress.

The MMP representation is a mixed electoral system in which voters get two votes ― one to decide the representative for their single-seat constituency and one for a political party.

It was originally used to elect representatives to the German Bundestag (federal parliament) and has been adopted by Bolivia, Lesotho and New Zealand.

In October, Abdul Rashid said the MMP system was seen as an improvement to the FPTP but conceded that the latter needs to be maintained at least for the state elections as state assemblymen have close ties with the voters.

He was quoted saying voters may not vote for the candidate but the party as it would then select the candidate representing it if the system was to be changed.

Apart from the MMP proposal, Haniza also said the Wanita PKR suggested for the ERC to introduce additional criteria of having a minimum of 30 per cent women candidates for political parties wishing to contest an election.

Earlier, she reminded delegates that women empowerment was not a competition was not a competition between men and women, but something that complemented both gender.

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