Press Release, 7 March 2007
RESOLUTIONS TABLED DURING THE BERSIH NATIONAL ROUNDTABLE CONFERENCE ON 10 FEBRUARY 2007 AT CENTURY PARADISE CLUB, AMAN MELAWATI, KUALA LUMPUR
The National Roundtable Conference observes thus:
• As a democratic and sovereign country bound by a Constitution, the electoral system represents a mechanism that provides a mandate and legitimacy to the governing party.
• As long as the electoral system is not free, clean and fair, the legitimacy of the government formed and the mandate it received is in question.
• Based on evidence in the 25 election petitions arising from the 11th General Election, as well as academic research and political analysis, the election – which was riddled with electoral abuse and fraudulent practices – is easily the dirtiest election ever held in Malaysia.
• The establishment of BERSIH (Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections) comprising 26 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and 5 political parties, and its campaign for electoral reform, is an inspiring milestone in the democratic process in this country.
• Electoral reform should be supported and championed by civil society groups and NGOs, regardless of ethnicity, religion, language and political inclination.
• NGOs, who have a duty in championing national as well as the people’s interests, should be more actively involved in the Coalition, as the purpose of the Coalition is not limited to championing the interests of the opposition parties.
The National Roundtable Conference reiterates the three immediate demands of BERSIH, which were proposed to the Election Commission and the Prime Minister on 23 November 2006:
1. To ensure the integrity of the electoral roll, it is crucial that the entire roll be reviewed, in order to remove mistakes and fraudulent registrations
2. To check for instances of multiple-voting, indelible ink should be used so that the principle of “One Person, One Vote” can be upheld.
3. To truly reflect the people’s mandate, the practice of postal voting must be abolished, except for diplomats and legitimate voters who live overseas.
The National Roundtable Conference also agrees to intensify its efforts to raise awareness through voter education programmes, such as:
1. People’s Consciousness Campaign – to conduct Democracy Week roadshow programmes in urban, semi-urban and rural areas to enlighten voters who are unaware of Malaysia’s fraudulent electoral process.
2. Announcement of ‘Black Areas’ – to highlight to the electorate particular areas which have been identified as being prone to serious electoral abuses and fraud.
3. Voter Action Network – to form voter action networks throughout the country.
4. Media Network – to engage and network with pro-reform alternative media.
5. People’s Gathering – to organize a consciousness and mobilization event in the form of a mass gathering of 100,000 people.
6. International Solidarity – to engage the international community such as international NGOs, academicians and prominent thinkers in campaigning for electoral reform and democracy.
The National Roundtable Conference opines that further discussion is necessary to formulate a systematic, long-term plan for electoral reform, which could also be part of the agenda of the political parties. These include:
• Local government elections which were introduced before Independence, but later abolished.
• The processes of administrative neutrality and caretaker government during elections at federal and state levels.
• A longer campaign period and the requirement that the dissolution of Parliament and State Assemblies must be discussed with the Opposition, with the exception of a no-confidence vote.
• More effective control over campaign financing, as well as a state finance scheme for campaign expenses.
• A change in the electoral system aimed at narrowing the gap between votes received and seats won, as well as ensuring greater participation among women (such as a 30 % quota for female candidates), civil society representatives, and marginalized groups.
The resolutions of the National Roundtable Conference were supported by the following organisations:
1. Parti Islam Se Malaysia (PAS)
2. Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)
3. Democratic Action Party (DAP)
4. Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
5. Sarawak National Party (SNAP)
6. Group of Concerned Citizens (GCC)
7. SOS Penang
8. Tamil Foundation
10. Writers Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)
11. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)
12. Community Action Network (CAN)
13. Malaysia Youth and Students Democratic Movement (DEMA)
14. Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC)
16. Labour Resource Centre
17. Pusat KOMAS
18. Civil Rights Committee, KL-Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (CRC-KLSCAH)
19. Persatuan Ulama’ Malaysia (PUM)
20. Women’s Development Collective (WDC)
21. Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
22. Unit Pemikiran Politik (UPP)
23. Malaysian Voters Union (MALVU)
24. All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
25. Gabungan Mahasiswa Islam Semenanjung (GAMIS)
26. Research for Social Advancement (REFSA)
27. Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM)
28. Persatuan HAKAM
29. ERA Consumers
30. Citizens’ Health Initiative (CHI)
31. EMPOWER (Pusat Janadaya)
32. Centre for Studies of Modernity and Civil Society (CESMACS)
33. Centre for Peace Initiatives (CENPEACE)
34. Penyertaan dan Pembangunan Komuniti (IMPAK)
35. Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM)
36. Yayasan Pembangunan Ummah (YPU)
37. Persatuan Muafakat Sejahtera Malaysia (Muafakat)
38. Penggerak Demokrasi
39. Institut Masyarakat Madani (IMAD)
40. Persatuan Kebangsaan Pelajar-pelajar Islam Malaysia (PKPIM)
41. Kelantan Research Institute of Strategic Studies (KRISS)
42. Persatuan Anak-anak Kelantan (PERAKAN)
43. Ikatan Studi Islam Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (IKIUKM)
44. Persatuan Mahasiswa Islam (PMI)
45. Badan Sosial Pengawasan Puchong
46. Ikatan Pengkajian Islam Pahang (IKATAN)
47. Majlis Tindakan Rakyat Kelantan (MTRK)
48. Persatuan Ibu Tunggal Mas Merah
49. Kelab Remaja Islah (KARISMA)
50. Persatuan Ibu Tunggal Widad
51. Sekretariat Ulama Asia Tenggara (SHURA)
52. Persatuan Kebajikan Proton
53. Islamic Human Rights Forum
54. Persatuan Pengguna Islam Malaysia
55. Sesama Insan
56. Teras Pengupayaan Melayu
57. Badan Kebajikan Semantan
58. Jamaah Islah Malaysia (JIM)
59. Per. Kebangsaan Pekerja-pekerja Islam Malaysia
60. Gerakan Mansuhkan ISA (GMI)
61. Gerakan Demokrasi dan Anti-Korupsi (GERAK)
62. Jaringan Siswazah Muslim Malaysia (JASA)
63. Kumpulan Aktivis Media Independen (KAMI)
64. Yayasan Rabiatul Islamiah Malaysia (YARIM)
Resolutions of the BERSIH National Roundtable Conference
Press Release, 7 March 2007