Press Statement (27 February 2020): Restore Trust and Reconcile the Nation

Along with ordinary Malaysians, the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) is deeply saddened by the ongoing political crisis that was sparked by politicians’ attempt to grab for power resulting in the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government and the current impasse where we do not have a functioning government.

If either Tun or Anwar or any other person be appointed by the YDP Agong, it should not be a time of jubilation or recrimination but a time for soul-searching for all those involved in creating this crisis. Tun Dr Mahathir has openly apologised to the nation in his address yesterday for this crisis. Whoever eventually become the PM must also apologise to the Rakyat and vow to restore stability and public confidence.

The new PM and government must set the tone for reconciliation, not just among the politicians and parties, but among the Rakyat. Political divides among the Rakyat are often viewed through racial lenses and the hate among some has reached a dangerous level. As the PM for all Malaysians, the PM must lead by example and reach out to all his/her opponents, even those who had inflicted the deepest wound on him/her. This is not the time for political revenge but for national reconciliation.

Such political power grab has grievously hurt the Rakyat’s trust in our democracy and political system. It has also come at a time when our focus should be on restoring our struggling economy amidst a global slowdown and the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. This attempt to change a government at mid-term is nothing short of an attempted coup by selfish political elites at the expense of the nation and must be condemned in the strongest term and should never be regarded as normal.

To accept it as a normal process of our Westminster style of government would encourage politicians to constantly scheme to undermine each other for power instead of focusing on their roles as government or as opposition. The hapless victim would always be the Rakyat and the nation. Confidence in the electoral process and democracy would also erode – why bother to vote for a party or coalition when it could be changed mid-term? Our trust has been betrayed.

If this impasse cannot be resolved soon, with no one person commanding a clear majority in the Dewan Rakyat, then we urge the Interim PM to request the YDP Agong to dissolve the 14th Parliament and return to the Rakyat to confer a fresh mandate to a new government of their choice.

This is not an ideal time for a snap election given the fact that deep structural defects of malapportionment and gerrymandering from GE14 not only remains in our electoral boundaries but has gotten worse. Other issues such as the lowering of voting age to 18 and automatic voters registration have not been implemented, and a snap election now would disenfranchised almost 5 millions potential voters. But as a nation we cannot afford to have a non-functioning government when we are facing stormy economic challenges and a snap election would be the lesser of two evils

Meanwhile, we urge all Malaysians to take extra efforts to preserve inter-communal harmony at this critical juncture. No matter how much different we are in political views, we are all children of Malaysia and one family. As some quarters may hope to profit from setting the country on fire, we must stay vigilant to fail such scheme.

Statement issued by:
The Steering Committee of Bersih 2.0