GE15: Elected candidates must undergo health checks to avoid by-elections, says expert

18 Oct 2022 09:36am
Malaysia likely to undergo elections next month after Parliament was dissolved on Oct 10
Malaysia likely to undergo elections next month after Parliament was dissolved on Oct 10

SHAH ALAM - Medical experts have proposed for the maximum age to be an MP or a state assemblyman to be capped at 70 to 75 years old unless they are proven to be fit.

Medical and Health Sciences Cluster National Professors Council (MPN) Head, Professor Tan Sri Amin Jalaludin said the ability to lead should take priority unless they are not fit.

"Technically, the age factor cannot be considered because older leaders are seen as more matured but what is important is the health of the leader.

"People’s representatives, whether young or old, must also undergo a health check-up to avoid by-elections if something untoward takes place," he told Sinar Harian.

He said the national political arena needs a combination of cooperation between young leaders and veterans.

"If there is a mix between the young generation and veterans, it would boost mature politics, thus being able to shape the country in a better direction," he explained.

Commenting on Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the former prime minister, Amin said it's time for the candidate for the Langkawi Parliamentary seat to 'take a break' from the world of politics.

He said that although Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA) chairman is matured but he could face problems running the country due to his old age.

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"His health may take a toll if he is busy thinking about national affairs, for me this is the time for him to rest," he said.

Apart from that, he said Malaysia should be able to move towards setting a quota for election candidates as is a practice in some countries to ensure a more balanced composition in terms of age and gender.

Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) head for intergrity and governance, Professor Ahmad Marthada Mohamed said it is more realistic to set a maximum age limit.

However, he said some developed countries had a two-term limit for the head of government such as the president and Malaysia could head in that direction.

In Indonesia, he said they have certain quota such as the number of female candidates to be placed to increase women's involvement in politics.

"So, we can probably move in that direction," he said.

Thailand requires elected representatives to have a degree, he added.

"For me, what we need to do (fix the maximum limit), we need to look at the practice (of the other countris)," he told Sinar Harian.

Marthada explained, the definition of 'fit' is too subjective and there needs to be a more scientific measurement.

"For example, 'fit' in politics can mean that the longer you stay in politics, the more mature and rational you will become.

"When you want to make criteria, the criteria must also based on scientific studies. We can't simply say that elders can't be people's representatives because they are old.

"Perhaps we want more young people but the maturity of thinking is still not as expected. Because of that, some countries implement minimum limits," he said.

He added the determination of a candidate is not just a physical factor but needs to look at the level of health and ability to serve.

"We have to remember that people's representatives are lawmakers who need to mature and make decisions related to policy," he explained.