MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku



10 APRIL 2024

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Bersih meets Anwar, secures 'agreement in principle' for some reforms


Pro-reform group Bersih met with Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim today amid its push for the government to enact reforms.

It said the premier agreed in principle to some of the 10 reforms it presented during the meeting.

“The prime minister stated that he agreed in principle to several things, however, there were several reforms that he felt needed further discussion,” the group said.

In a separate statement, Anwar said some of the reforms proposed to him by Bersih were already being considered and acted on by the government. However, he did not go into detail.

The 10 reforms proposed by Bersih to Anwar were:

  • Appointment of Election Commission chairperson and members

  • Declassifying the electoral reform report

  • Election Offences Act

  • Political financing

  • Redelineation

  • Separation of power between public prosecutor and attorney-general

  • Moratorium on discharges not amount to acquittals (DNAA)

  • Parliament Services Act and Standing Orders

  • Fixed Term Parliament Act

  • Constituency Allocations Act

When contacted, Bersih chairperson Mohammad Faisal Abdul Aziz said among the items that Anwar agreed to were reforms on election offences, including auditing the financial reports of candidates before nomination.

Other reforms agreed to include separating the public prosecutor and attorney-general roles as well as enhancing Parliament through the Parliament Services Act.

Bersih said the meeting took over an hour, during which it submitted a 30-page memorandum and a 10-page research paper containing proposals based on feedback gathered during its engagement sessions and its 2018 study on strengthening Malaysia’s democratic transition.

The group said the government has a “golden opportunity” to implement institutional reforms.

“The time has come for the Malaysian government under Anwar’s leadership with the support of cabinet members and MPs to pioneer a great legacy by fulfilling the structural reform agenda including electoral reform, institutional reform, and leaving no room for corruption and abuse of power,” the group said.

Bersih added that its biggest concern is that the current government will just run down the clock without implementing reforms in the remaining four years of its mandate.

It warned that the people are becoming disillusioned by the power of the ballot after voting in hopes of change.

“(There is) the possibility that some voters will become cynical, which has the potential to reduce turnout in the next election,” the group said.

Govt is open

Following the meeting, Anwar said the government is open to any recommendation from Bersih, particularly on how to improve the election process and institutional reform.

“Some of the recommendations have grabbed my attention and some in the memorandum have already been considered and acted upon by the unity government,” he said on Facebook.

The premier said having such dialogue is important to help understand civil society’s aspirations and the challenges faced by the government, especially on the issues presented in the memorandum.

He said the inclusive approach of listening to the views of civil society such as Bersih, will lead to better synergy between the civil society and the government in the country’s democratic process.

“This meeting also emphasised the importance of strengthening political education and increasing political literacy among the community towards better Malaysian politics,” he added.

On Tuesday, around 100 participants of Bersih’s #Reformasi100Peratus rally marched to the Parliament to submit a memorandum.

The group’s memorandum was received by Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Abdul Karim and Selayang MP William Leong, both from PKR, outside Parliament grounds.

Shortly after receiving the memorandum, Hassan said he would continue to demand reforms in Parliament as urged by the people.

After the group dispersed, Dang Wangi district police chief Noor Dellhan Yahaya said the rally organiser would be called up soon since the gathering was held without at least five days’ advance notice being given to the police. - Mkini

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