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LETTER | Let GE15 be the dawn of a new day for Malaysia’s democracy

LETTER | Bersih congratulates Anwar Ibrahim on his appointment as Malaysia’s 10th prime minister and we welcome the formation of a mixed coalition government led by Pakatan Harapan (Harapan) with the support of BN and the Borneo blocs.

This brought to an end five days of political impasse due to a hung Parliament from GE15.

The hung Parliament of GE15 signified the maturing of Malaysian democracy where politics is no longer dominated by a single or two coalitions but voters can choose between several options and a post-election coalition can be formed peacefully and successfully.

Hopefully from now on, parties would be forced to moderate themselves during campaigning as they may have to be partners after polls.

Bersih applauds the announcement by Anwar that the first agenda when Parliament convenes on Dec 19 is the tabling of a vote of confidence to prove that he commands the majority support of MPs to become prime minister.

We believe that Anwar would have secured the support of his coalition's partners by then. The coalition agreements between the parties - on policy goals they have agreed on and mechanisms on new and undecided issues - should be announced, signed publicly and deposited in Parliament.

This is what former prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob did– he signed the agreement for political stability and transformation with Harapan in 2021.

We have long called for the confirmatory vote of confidence (CVC) to be adopted as part of the parliamentary convention to prove support for a prime minister.

This would remove any doubts as to the legitimacy and strength of a government and reaffirms the judgement of the Agong as laid out in Article 43(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution.

The formation of government is too important to be conducted behind closed doors with statutory declarations (SD) that are opaque.

Anwar should also remember his promise to keep his administration slim. The political need to appoint representatives from various parties should be addressed by setting up the same number or more of parliamentary committees as the number of ministries, with commensurate salaries but no perks for the chairs and their deputies.

The election is over and a government has been formed. Bersih calls on all parties, especially the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition to accept the outcome of GE15 and to play their role as the opposition to the new government.

We need an opposition that could effectively scrutinise Anwar's government. For that to happen, the new Harapan-led government has to empower Parliament and provide adequate resources for special select committees and the formation of a shadow cabinet.

Bersih also congratulates the almost 15.5 million or 74 percent of eligible voters who participated in GE15 despite rain and flooding in some areas.

The images of voters wading in knee-high flood water to cast their votes in Baram, Sarawak and the global mobilisation of Malaysians all over the world to bring home postal ballots demonstrated the determination and commitment of Malaysians to our democracy.

Let GE15 be remembered as the election where we transit to a multiparty democracy and elections are not do-or-die battles that cause deep divisions in our society.

It is time to heal and for all parties to play their part to ensure that the rakyat are the true winner of this election.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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