By Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia

Civil society stands up to end marginalisation

Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM), a coalition of 25 civil society organisations (list below) , fully endorses the Social Inclusion Act (SIA, 2012) proposed by Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM) and the National Human Rights Society (Hakam).

Today, almost 40 percent of Malaysians are still trapped in the inter-generational cycle of poverty and inequality. Poor and low income households comprising 12 million citizens lack the capability to overcome the multi-dimensional disadvantages they face on a daily basis. Vulnerable individuals and groups, citizens and non-citizens alike, continue to encounter prejudice and discrimination, and remain marginalised.

The proposed SIA is in line with GBM's charter that states - “There must be equitable distribution of wealth, to eradicate poverty, end marginalisation and ensure the welfare of the People. Any affirmative action must be based on needs and not ethnicity.”

We believe this legislation contains key proposals that would go a long way towards achieving the goal of a just, equitable and inclusive society as envisioned in the Rukunegara promulgated on Aug 31, 1970.   

In this regard, GBM calls upon all political parties to undertake a comprehensive study of the proposed legislation and to seriously consider adopting it for implementation. The specific proposal to establish an independent Social Inclusion Commission accountable directly to Parliament merits serious consideration as it is designed to address the issues of poverty and marginalisation in a non-partisan, accountable and transparent manner.

Additionally, GBM proposes to establish a civil society based ‘Poverty and Marginalisation Watch Group’ to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed Social Inclusion Commission. The ‘Watch Group’ would act as a check and balance and would complement Parliament in overseeing the workings of the commission.
 
We call upon the people from all strata of our society to support this noble initiative. This is indeed the time to come together as a nation to address the real issues of poverty and marginalisation in a non-partisan and dispassionate manner.

Issued by GBM chair Tan Yew Sing for and on behalf of Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM).

The 25 GBM members are:

1) Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)  
2) Aliran
3) Tamil Foundation
4) Pertubuhan Ikram Malaysia (Ikram)  
5) Majlis Perundingan Malaysia Agama Buddha; Krisitian; Hindu; Sikh dan Tao (MPMA-BKHST)  
6) Negri Sembilan Chinese Assembly Hall (NSCAH)  
7) Penang Chinese Town Hall (PGCTH)
8) The Federation of Chinese Associations Johor State (FCAJ)  
9) Lim Lian Geok Cultural Development Centre (LLG)  
10) United Chinese School Alumni Association of Malaysia (UCSAAM)
11) Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF)
12) Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram)  
13) Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (Komas)  
14) Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)  
15) Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor dan Wilayah Persekutuan (Permas)  
16) National Indian Rights Action Team (Niat)  
17) People’s Green Coalition (PGC)
18) Anak Muda Sarawak (AMS)
19) All Women’s Action Society (Awam)
20) Partners in Community Organising (Pacos Trust)
21) Persatuan Bekas Siswazah Universiti dan Kolej di China, Malaysia (Liu-Hua)
22) Nanyang University Alumni Malaya (Nanda)
23) Japan Graduates Association, Malayia (Jagam)
24) Gabungan Persatuan Alumni Uniersiti Taiwan Malaysia (GPAUTM)
25)  Islamic Renaissance Front  (IRF)