Bersih lauds govt-Harapan MOU, wants transparency and inclusivity

Electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 has lauded the joint announcement by the government and Pakatan Harapan that they will be signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for transformation and political stability at 5pm today in Parliament. 

Calling it a “rare achievement” in politics, the group said the deal showed that bipartisanship has won over spiteful rhetorics, one-upmanship and mindless politicking.

“The agreement pivots on the need for political stability in order to better manage the Covid-19 pandemic and restore the economy.

“Bersih also welcomes the promise to publish the details of the MOU in full at the signing, allowing the public not only to witness the agreement but also to hold both parties accountable to fulfil the terms within it,” it said in a statement today.

However, Bersih noted that not all parties on the opposition bench, namely Warisan, Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang), PSB and two independent MPs, were part of the MOU.

‘Whether they were invited or not, we do not know but we strongly hope that the benefits of institutional reforms including equal constituency development fund and representation in parliamentary special select committees, would be extended to all MPs on the opposition bench and not restricted to only Harapan parliamentarians.

“While this historic document is called an MOU, it is essentially a Confidence and Supply Agreement (CSA) where in exchange for the implementation of some policies and institutional reforms, the opposition agrees to support the government when it comes to votes of confidence and supply (budget) bills.

“The opposition will not be part of the government and is free to vote against any other bills as they deem fit,” Bersih added. 

The electoral watchdog said that it looked forward to the details of the MOU but believed that the seven-point reform package offered by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Sept 10 will be included, as well as additional reforms that Harapan may have requested.

“Any institutional reforms achieved from this MOU will benefit all political parties in the coming days as they would have the effect of levelling the political playing field, and start to bring an end to the winner-takes-all situation.

“More importantly, it would benefit the rakyat when governments, the Parliament, and key institutions start working for and protecting the interests of the people instead of the politicians. 

“In a democracy, politicians should compete with each other to come up with better policies and laws that would improve the lives of the rakyat,” it said, adding that institutional reform ensures fair competition as well as adequate checks and balances to prevent abuses of power and corruption. 

(First published by Malaysiakini on 13 September 2021: