It’s UndiBanjir But Voters Must Still Vote In Large Numbers To Give New Parliament Legitimacy

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) expresses regret that Prime Minister has made a request for early dissolution of the 14th Parliament, which the King conventionally always grant the assent. Now, the Election Commission (EC) must call for polling to take place within 60 days.

BERSIH reiterates our view that it is irresponsible to risk life and property loss for a dubious claim of achieving political stability. The authorities, including the EC, may be forced to halt the 15th General Election (GE15) in areas affected, or if too many areas are affected, suspend it nationwide.

BERSIH praises the stand taken by six state governments that they would not simultaneously dissolve their state legislatures this time as per convention as they want to prioritize flood relief efforts. The states are those controlled by Pakatan Harapan (PH) – Selangor, Penang and Negeri Sembilan, as well as PAS controlled Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah. The six states should negotiate and announce a common dissolution date between 25 June (automatic dissolution date for Selangor) and 1 August (Penang) to set the new constitutional convention of full-term assembly and to avoid the public having to guess the next election dates.

BERSIH also regrets that GE15 is called before the 2023 Budget is passed. It’s utter contempt to Parliament when the “candies” in the budget are tangled before the public as election goodies of the PM’s party even as the Budget did not go through parliamentary debates to scrutinize Its merits and costs.

Furthermore, BERSIH is concerned that regardless of whichever parties come to power, they would need to table its budget again, be it the same or a different one. This may become a crisis point, resulting in the collapse of the new government if its budget is voted down by its coalition partners.

Amidst the double risks related to the flood and Budget, BERSIH calls upon all voters to come out to vote. A high turnout can give legitimacy to the 15th Parliament where the Members of Parliament (MP) elected are truly representing the majority of their constituents, and the new government formed can be assured that the majority of eligible voters support them.

BERSIH calls on the EC to immediately open up postal voting application to all overseas Malaysians and to give absentee voting rights to East Malaysians living in the Peninsula, as well as West Malaysians living in the Borneo territories. These measures could potentially enfranchise up to 2.5 millions eligible voters.

Besides voting, Malaysians should demand political parties and contestants to commit themselves to key institutional reforms to stabilise politics after GE15, amongst the most important ones, Attorney General Chamber’s reform and public funding of political parties.

Statement issued by:
The Steering Committee of BERSIH