The Third Vote

I totally agree with what Anas Zubedy said in his Nut Graph article:

But in terms of politics, I would like to see us moving beyond a two-party system. I think we need a two-plus-one system. In this system, we’d have BN and PR, and also 30 to 40 Members of Parliament who are totally independent and who can vote entirely according to their conscience. I think this will make us a stronger country.

That is why I have often reminded people that with two ballot boxes and the ability to cross out any box, there are actually four outcomes. That is a mathematical certainty. I will quote a previous blog of mine, “The Maths of a Single Ballot”:

Problem: There is a ballot sheet with two boxes on it. One is labelled BN while the other is labelled Opposition. A voter, who has decided to go to the polls to have his/her voice heard, is asked to make a choice by crossing out any of the boxes according to his/her preference. By selecting a random voter, determine the possible outcomes of the single vote.

Gahmen’s Truth: There is only one choice, of course cross out BN lar!
Opposition’s Truth: There is only one correct choice, of course cross out Opposition lar!

Mathematical Truth: With two boxes and the possibility of crossing out any box, there are four possible outcomes, namely:

  1. Cross out the box labelled BN.
  2. Cross out the box labelled Opposition.
  3. Cross out both boxes labelled Opposition and BN.
  4. Cross out neither of the boxes and leave both empty.

Subjective Analysis: Assuming that the ballot reflects the voter’s true feelings, from the possible outcomes, determine the kind of voter for each possible outcome.

  • Supports BN.
  • Supports the Opposition.
  • Supports neither the Opposition nor BN.
  • Undecided.

Conclusion: There are many other ways that this result can be analysed. I leave it as an exercise to the reader to analyse this and draw whatever conclusions that they wish to draw. This blog wasn’t about the conclusions. It’s about the mathematical fact that there are four possible results for a single ballot in a straight fight between two parties.

In fact, I had tried explaining this concept to some of my colleagues and they cannot seem to fathom any of the other two possibilities. I think that is partially due to fear, uncertainty and doubt. We definitely need the third vote. I agree with Zubedy that we need 30-40 MPs who do not need to tow any party line but need to respect the wishes of their constituents.

However, that would only happen within a mature democracy – not ours.

Published by

Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered/Professional Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

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