The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0) urges Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to reach out to Parliamentary Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Pakatan Harapan (PH) as the official opposition for a Confidence and Supply Agreement (CSA). His alternative option is resignation in the event of budget defeat, not emergency which is a self-coup.
The full position of BERSIH 2.0 is as follows:
- The proposed proclamation of emergency is an open admission that the Prime Minister has no confidence that his budget will be supported by all 113 government MPs despite UMNO’s pledge to support the government. Federal Territories Minister Annuar Musa’s open question on what law if not emergency can prevent elections confirms this fatalist sentiment is prevalent in the Cabinet since the emergency proposal is approved by the cabinet.1
- An emergency proclamation is a self-coup to subvert parliamentary democracy.
– It is unconstitutional because Article 150 only permits it for “imminent danger” that “threatens the security, or the economic life, or public order”. Government survival is not a permissible ground.
– It is irresponsible, counter-productive and in fact “[threatening] economic life” by causing panic and crash in markets, chasing away investments, inviting international sanctions, hence, driving up unemployment and hurting ordinary people’s struggle to put food on the table and pay bills.
– It will magnify political crisis by dragging the Palaces into partisan conflicts, as the Proclamation has to be issued by the Yang diPertuan Agong, and risking political unrest as in Thailand and Indonesia.
- Minority governments in countries from the UK, Denmark to Canada – the latest just on October 212 – have passed their budgets with support from Opposition on a CSA basis. As Malaysia’s permanent coalition model is disintegrating, CSA is a new norm that we have to embrace.
- If TS Muhyiddin Yassin is convinced that he will lose some government MP’s support on the budget, then he must demonstrate the maturity and courage to reach out to the official opposition for a CSA before Budget Day. A CSA may necessitate certain reforms including parliamentary reform, election reforms and other institutional reforms and equal funding for all MPs as well as Opposition’s input to make the budget more inclusive and prudent and to prevent similar political impasse from happening again in future. A Muhiyyidin-PH CSA will have 204 votes at the maximum and can afford any defection.
- If TS Muhyiddin insists on not having a CSA bill with the official opposition, then he must resign if his budget is defeated. Malaysia will not have to go for a snap poll or risk not having a budget, as the House can pass a vote of confidence into another MP to form a new government and to continue with the budget. Even if the PM leads only a minority government, he or she can humbly seek a CSA with opposition parties.
Since our joint statement with Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM) and Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM) on June 10, 2020, we have urged for government and opposition – regardless which parties on which side – to come together to build a healthy environment for multiparty competition, which includes end of selective prosecution and impunity, parliamentary reform, political finance reform, recall election, electoral system change and decentralisation.3
Our call for a CSA in our statement on October 23, 2020 titled “Is Muhyiddin Launching A Self-Coup In Order To Stay In Power?” reflects our principled and informed position as a non-partisan group in defending and deepening democracy. We strongly regret that a few media have misrepresented our position with misleading headlines like “Save budget, don’t vote out Muhyiddin, says Bersih” and “Bersih 2.0 urges opposition not to vote against PN in no confidence, budgetary matters”.
Whether such misrepresentation is due to poor comprehension, clickbait calculation, or any partisan agenda, we urge those media practitioners to demonstrate their professionalism and integrity at all times. To members of the public, if you come across dubious reports of BERSIH 2.0-related news, please visit our website (www.bersih.org) or check more credible media for verification.
The Steering Committee of BERSIH 2.0