Bersih calls for inter-coalition peace deal after state polls

PETALING JAYA: Electoral reform group Bersih has called on the unity government and the opposition to sign an inter-coalition peace deal after the six state elections to ensure political stability.

Bersih said Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and opposition leader Hamzah Zainudin should negotiate an agreement similar to the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Pakatan Harapan in September 2021, one month after the former Umno vice-president became prime minister.

“This can assure not just the voters of the six states, but also the public as well as domestic and foreign investors alike, that Malaysia can focus on economic rejuvenation by crushing continuous rumours that undermine political stability and market confidence,” it said in a statement.

Bersih also stressed the importance of a level playing field that allows the opposition to compete professionally, focusing on policy and governance instead of identity politics.

The proposed peace deal, it said, should include 10 political arrangements and institutional reforms, such as a fixed-term parliament, confidence mechanisms such as the confirmatory vote of confidence after the appointment of a new prime minister, and the constructive vote of no-confidence in the removal of a prime minister, as well as strengthened parliamentary oversight.

“It should also recognise the opposition’s shadow cabinet with adequate allocation to shadow ministers and commensurate access to information so that they can function effectively as a constructive opposition and government-in-waiting,” it said.

Bersih also called for the independence of bodies such as Parliament, attorney-general’s chambers (AGC), Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), and Election Commission (EC), to ensure fairness, transparency, and accountability in the political system.

“Bersih hopes both the unity government and Perikatan Nasional (PN) welcome this call positively to overcome political fatigue and apathy which are found among many voters and likely result in a dangerously low turnout in the state elections,” it said.

Six states – Penang, Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, Negeri Sembilan and Selangor – will go to the polls on Aug 12.

(First published by Free Malaysia Today on 16 July 2023: