The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih), The Kofi Annan Foundation and Global Bersih, together with the Speaker of Dewan Rakyat’s Office and the Deputy Speaker’s Office, proudly launch the roundtable on Deepening Democracy in Malaysia at the House of Parliament. This roundtable is held at Dewan Persidangan in Parliament for two days from the 9th to 10th May 2023 and will have contribution and participation from foreign and local experts, political leaders from various parties, civil society leaders, academics and think tank leaders, youth and student groups, and media practitioners.
The three main organisers – Bersih, Kofi Annan Foundation and Global Bersih are extremely grateful and proud to have the full support of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker’s offices, as well as generous support from the Delegation of the European Union to Malaysia and the Australian High Commission, to make this prestigious event possible. This is in recognition of the important and timely theme of this roundtable, which is to explore opportunities and solutions to deepen democracy in Malaysia in light of a hung parliament – where no one party commands a simple majority in Parliament – following the 15th General Election (GE15).
While a hung parliament is unprecedented for Malaysia, it is a norm in many developed democracies around the world. These countries have found ways to build functional and stable coalitions and governments to ensure that the governance and development of their countries are not impeded. In the spirit of facilitating knowledge exchange and emulate best practices in matured democracies, the organisers have reached out to experts and practitioners from Sweden, Finland, Germany, Canada, Australia, and the Philippines to share with us their experiences in conversation with local political leaders and experts.
There will be five sessions over the two days, namely:
Session 1: Political Stability in Hung Parliament.
Session 2: Opposition and shadow cabinet in Parliament.
Session 3: Steering a Post-Election Coalition Government.
Session 4: Empowering Parliamentarians.
Session 5: Civil society, media and the youth.
Apart from providing a platform to share experiences and best practices from other parliamentary democracies, we hope to facilitate dialogue among key stakeholders to advance multi-party democracy in Malaysia. At the end of the roundtable, we aim to produce a full report highlighting major debates, key challenges, and constructive recommendations to deepen democracy in Malaysia.
We are grateful for the support of the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat Dato’ Johari Abdul for his enthusiastic support and for agreeing to host this event, although it is with much regret that he is unavailable to personally attend due to his prior commitments attending the ASEAN-AIPA Leaders’ Interface Meeting in Labuan Bajo, Indonesia. In his place, the Deputy Speaker YB Alice Lau has graciously agreed to deliver the keynote address to launch the roundtable.
This is the second in a series of roundtable that the three organisers have organised. The first was six months after the 14th General Election where Parliament hosted the Electoral Reform Roundtable with the support of the Election Commission to explore critical electoral reforms needed to strengthen our democracy.
We are proud to continue and advance this tradition to make Parliament the arena for more debates and deliberations to sustain our democracy. Democracy and stability are inseparable. There would be no stability without democracy, and vice versa. In parliamentary democracies like Malaysia’s, Parliament is the key public institution to uphold democracy and uplift the reform agenda.
We hope to continue such important conversations in the future to encourage all parties and stakeholders in this country to work together to build a more participatory, inclusive and multi-ethnic model of governance that will impact political developments both internally and regionally.
The roundtable will be streamed live over Parlimen Malaysia’s Youtube channel and members of the press are cordially invited to be present to cover the press conference after the keynote address and to highlight discussions happening in the five panel sessions over the next two days as we deliberate the future of Malaysian democracy.
Statement jointly issued by:
Deputy Speaker of Dewan Rakyat’s Office
The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih)
The Kofi Annan Foundation