The suggestion by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim that the concept of "one person, one vote," should be implemented by allowing each voter to only vote a leader from the same racial group shows the impractical and nonsensical consequences of basing politics on racial considerations.
Institut Rakyat Research Director Yin Shao Loong said such a concept then would not make the Prime Minister as adequately representing all Malaysians.
"If we follow Shahidan’s political theory to its logical conclusion the Prime Minister should be 67.4 percent bumiputera, 24.6 percent Chinese, 7.3 percent Indian and 0.7 percent "other"," he said in a statement Apr 1.
He said leadership in this country would "rest more on fine-tuned breeding programmes rather than elections".
Yin said Shahidan’s suggestion that multiple parties should be abolished and replaced with three parties – one for bumiputeras, one for Malaysian-Chinese, and one for Malaysian-Indians – as a more extreme version of the old Alliance/Barisan Nasional formula, whereby political order is achieved via multi-ethnic representation and accommodation.
"The idea that candidates must racially match their constituents implies the implementation of geographical segregation on racial lines," he said.
"Ethnically-mixed seats would either not be permissible or one or more groups of voters would be ineligible to vote for a candidate on the basis of their race," he said.
Ultimately he said it was regressive to suggest that race should be the ultimate determinant of political choice.
"Barisan Nasional may be happy with this given that many of its component parties are organised on a racial basis and the BN has used its control of government to propagate racialised consciousness and anxiety amongst Malaysians," he said.
However, he pointed out that the 13th General Elections showed that the majority of Malaysian voters chose to support Pakatan Rakyat, a coalition more centred around programmes of reform rather than race.
"Many voters have rejected race-based politics," he said.
Yin said the concept of ‘one person, one vote, one value’ stands against the current problem faced within Malaysia’s electoral system because the electoral constituencies can have wildly divergent numbers of voters, but both receive equal representation with an individual member of Parliament.
"The challenge Malaysian democracy faces is not to represent race adequately, but to ensure that each citizens’ vote is of relatively equal value to that of another citizens’," he said.
By virtue of each us being citizens of Malaysia we should each be entitled to an equal stake in choosing our leaders, he said.
He said Shahidan should be able to understand that basic principle or else he should resign.