Bersih: Malaysians must monitor Pakatan

21-Jun-2018 Intellasia | | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Malaysians must monitor Pakatan Harapan (PH) as the change in federal government is just the “first step” towards reforms, Bersih 2.0 said today.

Yap Swee Seng, executive director of the electoral watchdog, said there was no time for civil society and Malaysians to be “complacent” as the country enters a new era.

“The change of government is just the very first step of the reform process. Reform is still yet to be implemented.

“Civil society and the public must continue to monitor the current government, especially on the institutional reforms that they have promised,” he said at the launch of human rights group Suaram’s Malaysia Human Rights Report 2017.

“The role of the civil society is even more crucial now, given that the BN (Barisan Nasional) is disintegrating and may not be able to function in this short span of time as a strong Opposition to check and balance the new government effectively,” he added.

The BN coalition, which had been in power for decades, has been reduced in size and strength since it became the federal Opposition after the 14th general elections (GE14).

PH had, in its GE14 manifesto, promised a raft of institutional and legal reforms if it is voted into power, and had, as the new government, set up an Institutional Reforms Committee to collect feedback and recommend reforms.

Yap said the civil society must work closely with the new government which had a similar reform agenda, but should also maintain its independence from the government and be critical if the latter does not act in Malaysians’ interest.

Earlier in his speech, Yap paid tribute to those in civil society, saying that he believed that the change of government through the May 9 elections could not have been achieved without the decades-long contribution and sacrifices of civil society.

“Many activists died, (were) injured, detained without trial, charged and jailed, threatened, intimidated, harassed and most recently disappeared involuntarily in the course of pursuing human rights, justice and democracy,” he said.

Yap urged the new government to reverse the shrinking of civil space under the previous BN rule, adding that this could be done through four methods.

Three of the measures involved the abolishment or review of laws that restrict freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of association.

As for the fourth measure, Yap suggested that the government form a new foundation to provide grants to civil society movements to promote human rights, democracy and justice in Malaysia.

“Civil society organisations can apply for grants from this foundation and the foundation should be given adequate annual allocations by the state.

“And it should be managed by an independent board and the independent board should also have civil society representatives to ensure the grants are given fairly and according to the needs of the civil society,” he added.


Category: Malaysia

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