People want stability and accountability after Malacca polls

by HARIZAH KAMEL / pic by BERNAMA

THE Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) has called for political parties and candidates contesting in the Malacca state election to promise post-election stability and accountability through institutional reform in their manifestos, dubbed the Melaka Challenge.

Bersih 2.0 chairman Thomas Fann (picture) urged all parties and candidates to take up the challenge by raising five agendas in their manifestos with the first being to pass an enactment to control party jumping and political accountability.

This is to strengthen the supremacy of voters to dismiss elected representatives who like to “jump” party or coalition.

“Representatives who jump or are fired from the party, either because of political differences or in pursuit of personal interests, will be judged by the people as to whether they should be fired or retained through the collection of petitions with a certain threshold value,” he said in a virtual press conference yesterday.

The second and third agendas are to amend the state constitution and state legislative assembly (DUN) meeting rules to mandate a confirmatory vote of confidence for the chief minister (CM) after appointment; and to introduce a constructive vote of no confidence which stipulates that the CM cannot be ousted unless the no-confidence vote also contains the name of his successor approved by a simple majority, and no new election is required if the new CM can be replaced by such a method.

“This will take away the power of a small group of ADUNs or MPs to hold their party leader to ransom. In Malacca, it just took four ADUNs to bring down a government. When Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was replaced, it took 14 MPs out of 220 to bring down his government.

“This has to change because just because the incumbent has lost the majority, it does not mean that the Opposition has the majority,” Fann elaborated.

He said the fourth agenda is to enact Constituency Development Funds (CDF) to ensure that CDF allocation is given equally and fairly to all elected representatives, whether government or Opposition.

Lastly, he implored for the reformation of DUN to make it a truly independent executive body with the setting of an agenda to be determined through inter-party discussions via House Committees, and not determined unanimously by the Yang di-Pertua or CM; as well as to establish more select committees with a committee composition that reflects the ratio of non-exco ADUNs of each party in the DUN.

Fann said although the Memorandum of Political Understanding was signed between the federal government and Pakatan Harapan, it still cannot stabilise the political situation if reforms are not institutionalised as law.

“This is clear with the withdrawal of support of four Melaka ADUN against their CM which caused the state assembly to be dissolved and elections had to be held in November. This is the seventh time at state level where there has been a change of government since the Sheraton Move and probably will not be the last. Even at the federal level, we already have three Prime Ministers in three years.

“This cannot continue and we need a solution where reforms must be implemented as soon as possible.

“During the pandemic, we should focus on the importance of issuing policies to revive the economy and take care of people’s health, but this ongoing political turmoil is becoming an obstacle and a distraction,” he said.

In addition, Bersih 2.0 urged all parties accepting the Malacca Challenge to sign a Healthy Competition Agreement to promise their readiness to accept the people’s decision on polling day and will not attract other party assemblymen to defect.