Institutional Reforms to End Power Frenzy Syndrome

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0) calls on Malaysians to push our politicians to adopt mature and healthy democratic politics for a brighter future of our nation. After the Sheraton Move that undermined democracy and exposed the weaknesses of our political system and institutions, the people should continue to push for this power frenzy to end through political and institutional reforms.

Our political temperature that has been gradually stabilizing was suddenly shaken by the withdrawal of the support of four Melaka State Assemblyperson against their Chief Minister (CM) resulting in the dissolution of the Malacca State Assembly and paving the way for State Elections, is clear evidence that we need a robust system to deal with the power crazy syndrome among elected representatives and politicians.

Withdrawal of the four ADUNs shows that the effects of the Sheraton Move still continues because we do not have effective laws to prevent such occurrences. This Sheraton Move is possible as a result of systemic problems in our political system and institutions, and it requires a systemic solution.

BERSIH 2.0 is of the view that if the State Assembly is dissolved, elections should be held. We reiterate our previous stance that elections should not be prevented by declaring an Emergency because it would set a bad precedent for national politics by allowing governments to arbitrarily declare an Emergency if it is in line with their political interests.

BERSIH 2.0 expresses our deep concern at the possibility of an Emergency in Malacca after the dissolution of the State Assembly, so that UMNO can not only continue to dominate the state government, but also potentialy pass the 2022 budget without state control and monitoring. We hope that the decision by the State Speaker to dissolve the State Assembly is not made with such considerations which will further erode the public’s trust in parliamentary democracy and even a constitutional monarchy.

However, BERSIH 2.0 rejects the view that state elections for a large state and Federal elections are suitable to be held now. State Elections conducted in Melaka does not mean a General Election and state elections for large states is also suitable to run and vice versa.

For the State Election that is expected to happen, BERSIH 2.0 calls on political parties to incorporate the following reforms in their election manifesto to empower institutions, thus preventing tragedies such as the Sheraton Move from happening again:

1. Recall Elections to empower the people to recall ADUNs who party hop or parties that change coalition.
2. Amend state constitution to introduce:
(i) A Vote of Confidence (VOC) for any new Chief Minister – to ensure political stability
(ii) A Constructive Vote of No Confidence (CVNC) – such that a Chief Minister can only be ousted if the new Chief Minister that enjoys majority support can be installed simultaneously – for political stability;
3. Legislate equal Constituency Development Fund (CDF) law for all State Assemblypersons.

BERSIH 2.0 is of the view that these proposed reforms are among the key points that cause politicians to party hop or for parties to switch coalitions without any regard to people’s hardship. The people need to punish political parties and elected representative who refuse to end this political instability simply because they want to fill their own interests.

People should punish political party leadership at the state level and their “big brothers” at the national level for allowing – albeit perhaps quietly – irresponsible acts of seizing or retaining power with vile ins and outs rather than following a mature and sustainable democracy.

Released by,
The Steering Committee of BERSIH 2.0