Not all signatories will be members of Better Malaysia Assembly

It is a platform for deliberative democracy which has become an integral component of many democracies across the world

by ASILA JALIL / pic by TMR FILE

THERE is no assumption that all or any of the 55 signatories of the Better Malaysia Assembly (BMA) will be members of the assembly.

Datuk Seri Mohd Nazir Razak (picture) said the BMA is a platform for deliberative democracy which has become an integral component of many democracies across the world.

“A recent Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development survey highlighted that 289 of such platforms have been employed in various countries to help governments and Parliaments address complex structural issues. As such the BMA is a platform that will work within the Malaysian democratic process.

“The letter to His Majesty is a proposal for the BMA to be set up and the 55 named signatories are those who have come out in support of the idea. There is no assumption that all or indeed any of them will be members of the BMA,” he said in a statement yesterday.

The banker and younger brother of former Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak said the signatories of the letter comprise a diverse group of prominent individuals from different backgrounds, races and views.

Some signatories were initially reluctant to share the same platform with a few others, said Mohd Nazir but they overcame their reservations to enable people with opposing views to arrive at solutions and compromises via the assembly that pushes for democracy.

“The letter makes clear that the selection of members of the BMA should be undertaken via a process involving the PM, the leader of the Opposition, as well as civil society. This process should result in a membership that is representative of Malaysian society,” he added.

Last Friday, Mohd Nazir and 54 others called for the Yang diPertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and the Conference of Rulers to allow for the set up or a non-partisan platform to push reforms in the country.

Mohd Nazir said successive PMs that have come into power and promised substantial reforms have led to little change being achieved as the promises often spark racial and religious conflicts.

He also added politicians fail to address structural issues because they prioritise short-term interests.

Among notable names of the 55 signatories include former Johor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Othman, Bersih 2.0 former chairperson Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan and former IGP Tun Mohammed Hanif Omar.