What do I mean by having two rounds of voting? I will explain by way of example.
Let us say there is a four-way fight in a particular constituency. There is a Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate, a Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidate, a PAS candidate, and an independent candidate.
After the first round of voting, let us assume that the BN candidate received 40% of the votes, while the PH candidate got 30%, the PAS candidate got 25%, and the independent candidate got 5%.
The two candidates with the most votes will then be shortlisted, the constituents will re-vote and based on my example, choose either the BN or PH candidate. At the end of the second round of voting, theoretically, either the BN or PH candidate should have a majority of the votes (barring any intentional spoilt votes as a form of boycotting the two shortlisted candidates).
This will encourage more people to stand for election (as is their democratic right) and yet reduce the current problem where the introduction of more candidates result in the splitting of Opposition votes.
Straight fights (one-on-one) based on merit will also be promoted. The best Opposition candidate (number of votes wise) – in my example being the PH candidate – will face off against the BN candidate.
Undeniably, getting the people to re-vote would mean extending polling day to at least two days (the first day for the first round of voting, tabulation of votes, and shortlisting of candidates for round two) which will lead to the spending of more taxpayer’s money. But isn’t the aim of electing an individual with a majority backing worth the cost involved?
Personally I am opposed to having a Member of Parliament/State Assemblyperson having won a seat by virtue of having the most votes AMONGST the candidates (assuming the most votes amounts to less than a majority of the votes). Such elected individuals can’t honestly say that they have the mandate of the people as they don’t necessarily have the majority of the voters in a particular constituency on their side.
An exceptions to the second round of voting could be made where a candidate has obtained at least 50.1% of the votes after the first round. In such an instance, it would be unnecessary to get the people to vote again as the aim of electing an individual with the majority of the votes has been achieved.
I acknowledge that this rough idea requires much fine tuning before it becomes a viable option. But isn’t the idea worth considering?
*This article was featured in The Malaysian Times