BERSIH urges Anwar to prioritise Malaysia’s institutional reform to ensure stability of the Govt

BERSIH urges Anwar to prioritise Malaysia’s institutional reform to ensure stability of the Govt

MALAYSIA— Thomas Fann, the chairman of The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH), has called on Malaysia’s Prime Minster Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to speed up some of the political reforms it had promised or risk further turmoil and instability in government.

During the launch of BERSIH’s 2022 Annual Report on Thursday (13 Apr), Thomas Fann commented that despite the conclusion of GE15 last year, only the anti-hopping law has been put into action, with other reforms such as political financing and fair allocation of resources still pending.

“Apart from the anti-hopping Bill, the political situation is pretty much status quo following GE14. Which means that there’s the possibility that this government may not last (long).”

“That’s why we see political manoeuvring like those trying to get Najib pardoned and charges against our deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi dropped.”

To address this situation, Mr Fann has called for the government to introduce reforms that promote political stability and inclusivity and to prioritize the implementation of these reforms.

Grant equal rights to backbenchers and opposition MPs in Parliament, Fann told Anwar

He suggested that the first step for Anwar’s unity government should be to grant equal rights to backbenchers and opposition MPs in Parliament, enabling them to play a more meaningful and active role.

“This would give them less chances to be impatient. Simple things like the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) which are low hanging fruits. ”

“It is the discretion of the prime minister’s right and he should use it to give it (CDF) to the opposition so they have the resources needed to serve the people who elected them.”

While people might think CDF is a blank cheque, but Mr Fann explained that there are built-in checks and balances. The issue of implementation does not arise as every allocation MPs want to give out must be approved first.

“This would strengthen the stability of the government and is in line with the Malaysia MADANI and goodwill,” Fann explained.

2022 was a significant year for BERSIH and Malaysia

He said 2022 was a significant year for BERSIH and Malaysia. The electoral watchdog group saw the materialisation of reforms promised in the MOU signed between then Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and the opposition bloc PH in September 2021.

He believed that forming of the unity government following the hung parliament after GE15, was only made possible because of the presence of anti-hopping law, and the constitutional amendments to deter party hopping.

“It was the decisive reason why the post-GE15 government formation process was conducted in an orderly and disciplined manner through negotiations between party leaders, instead of unbridled party-hopping by individual Members of Parliament (MPs).”

It is worth noting that Malaysia’s anti-hopping law came into effect five days before Parliament was dissolved on the 10th of October and is a vindication of the hard work BERSIH has been doing since the Sheraton Move.

The amendments were passed with a unanimous vote of 209 MPs present in the Dewan Rakyat (Lower House of Malaysia’s Parliament) on 28 July 2022.

BERSIH’s 2022 Annual Report also highlights the trials and tribulations of BERSIH’s work in an unprecedented political environment, particularly in relation to the Memorandum of Understanding on Transformation and Political Stability agreed by government and opposition parties.

Bersih also played an active role in monitoring the elections as Pemantau (observers) through their accreditation under the Election Commission’s Pemerhati program.

They conducted physical observation, online monitoring, and media monitoring, and launched a revamped website specifically dedicated to election observation,

Anticipating a hung Parliament, Bersih issued a statement called “10 Proposals to Form a Post-Election Coalition Government” at the close of Polling Day on 19 November.


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