The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) calls on all 21 million eligible voters to exercise our right to vote and determine our own future instead of allowing others to choose a government we may not want.
Despite the call of many, including BERSIH, not to hold GE15 during the monsoon season, the Prime Minister, at the urging of his party leadership has dissolved Parliament on 10 October. This would likely inconvenient many voters in flood-proned areas around the country and suppress voters turnout.
As the Rakyat, we must reject the attempts of some politicians to manipulate, discourage and divide us and rise above it to express our aspiration for the kind of country we want to live in. The most effective and decisive way is through the ballot box. The Rakyat is the the real kingmaker during elections.
BERSIH has identified five key areas of focus, which are part of our Ketuanan Pengundi campaign over the past one year, for the Rakyat to demand from the Election Commission (EC) and from the political parties that will be contesting for the right to be our Government for the next five years. There are:
- DON’T SUPPRESS OUR VOTES – With the implementation of Undi18, Automatic Voters Registration and the right to be postal voter for all Malaysians living overseas, the EC must allow a minimum of 21 days campaign period so that most postal ballots can return by Polling Day. Otherwise it would be meaningless to allow overseas voters the right but deny them the time to participate. We also call for advance voting for out-of-region voters, especially for East Malaysians living in Peninsula as well as West Malaysians in Sabah and Sarawak.
- END SELECTIVE PROSECUTION AND IMMUNITY – As the Rakyat we are told to obey the law or face the consequences of breaking it. We must reject any politicians or parties that see political power as a mean to escape punishment or to exact revenge on their opponents. To ensure that there is no interference in the judicial process by the government, we must separate the role of the Public Prosecutor from that of the Attorney-General, who is a political appointee.
- EMPOWERING THE PARLIAMENT – No government elected in GE15 could effectively delivered good policies to address our “bread and butter” issues if the laws and institutions are not empowered to demand transparency and accountability from the government. As such, parliamentary reform such as the restoration of the Parliamentary Services Act and empowerment of Select Committees and Backbenchers and Opposition through Standing Order amendments are critical. The Rakyat should choose parties or coalitions that make clear and specific commitments in their manifesto to carry out institutional reforms.
- REJECT CORRUPTION – Corruption is a scourge on our country and has become part of our culture. We must end this by choosing clean politicians and parties that are committed to take concrete measures such as the passing of the Political Financing Act, implementation of a National Anti-Corruption Plan and to reform the MACC so that it could be an independent body and not used as a weapon against political opponents.
- STABILIZE POLITICS – We have been plagued with unending political instability since the Sheraton Move and the calling of this early election is a continuation of that. We need laws and regulations that stabilize politics and lend predictability to government policies and date of elections. BERSIH proposed a Fixed Term Parliament Act to ensure greater certainty for all of us. To restore Parliament as the institution to determine with certainty the formation of government, we propose amendments to the House Standing Orders to provide for a Confirmatory Vote of Confidence (CVC) for any incoming PM and a Constructive Vote of No-Confidence (CVNC) for any PM who may have lost the support of the majority of MPs. These mechanisms would prevent the collapse of governments through sometimes dubious statements of withdrawal of support of the PM issued outside Parliament.
BERSIH will be launching various activities to encourage a high voter turnout such as the #VoteFuture campaign with short videos and posters to encourage all to vote. We are also recruiting Pemantau to observe the election and report election offences.
As part of our fundraising effort for GE15, we will be launching our first book, Making Democracy Work – Institutional Reforms for Malaysia, within the next two weeks. This book is a compilation of 16 research reports we commissioned the last two years and contains key recommendations to repair our broken political system.
Statement issued by:
The Steering Committee of BERSIH