Going into 2019, Bersih cautions fight for democracy doesn't end with BN

Modified 31 Dec 2018, 1:55 pm

Electoral reform group Bersih said Malaysians must usher in 2019 by affirming multiparty democracy, without which there will not be political stability, impartiality, accountability and transparency in governance as well as inclusive economic growth.

"Bersih cautions Malaysians not to assume that the end of Umno/BN's single-party rule will automatically usher in democracy.

"If we fail to consolidate democracy, it may also pave the way to political chaos, the rise of populist strongmen and even re-emergence of one-party dominance," it said in a statement tonight.

The group's steering committee said the exodus of 17 MPs and 18 assemblypersons from Umno, who are speculated to be joining Pakatan Harapan in future, was a sign that multiparty competition was being undermined.

It commended parties in both the government and oppositions who have voiced out against the exodus.

Bersih also called for reforms to reaffirm multiparty democracy, including the setting up of a parliamentary select committee on elections and political parties.

It said the committee can help forge cross-party consensus, engage the public in consultation, and facilitate constitutional and legal amendments necessary for any proposed reforms from the Election Commission and Electoral Reform Committee.

Bersih also called for reforms in political financing to provide public funding to all parties and elected representatives based on impartial criteria so as to end the practice of patronage and abuse of government resources for partisan electoral purposes.

It also reiterated the need to separate the role of public prosecutor from the Attorney-General's Chambers.

"Bersih categorically refutes the propaganda that reforms necessitating constitutional amendments cannot be done without the government having a two-thirds majority.

"If reforms are affirming multiparty competition, why should the opposition object to them?" it said.

Bersih called on the government to convene all parties in 2019 to discuss the future of multiparty competition.

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