Writer: Selangor Times Team
Published: Fri, 28 Dec 2012
A better Election Commission
We wish for:
1. The resignation of present Election Commissioners and the immediate appointment of credible and accountable
commissioners. As we have stated many times, the EC has showed itself to be an abysmal failure far too many times. Enough is enough!
2. A public and televised debate between the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Building a culture of political debate ahead of the general elections is crucial for democracy to thrive in Malaysia.
3. International observers such as from the United Nations and the Commonwealth to be allowed to monitor GE13. Impartial monitoring is a must and the government said it has nothing to hide in its electoral system.
4. The fulfillment of BERSIH 2.0’s eight demands. Until now, these eight demands have yet to be fulfilled, except for the promised implementation of indelible ink.
5. Greater transparency on overseas voters and it should be extended to all without the five-year gag.
6. To stop all political violence and all political leadership to condemn such violence. Much of 2012 has been plagued with instances of political violence which the government has hardly acknowledged. This must stop in 2013.
7. The police to be impartial/ The BERSIH 3.0 Duduk Bantah showed many instances of police brutality which cannot be denied or tolerated in the run-up to GE13.
8. A Special Unit to clean up the electoral roll and this unit must include non-governmental organisations as well as representative from each political party.
9. Respect for the rights of citizens to observe GE13, nationally and internationally. The EC should not make statements that BERSIH 2.0’s citizen observer project would be “pro-Opposition”. It should welcome such efforts!
Bersih 2.0 Steering Committee: Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan
(Co-Chairperson), Datuk A Samad Said (Co-Chairperson), Ahmad Shukri Abdul Razab, Andrew Ambrose, Andrew Khoo, Anne Lasimbang, Arul Prakkash, Arumugam K., Awang Abdillah, Dr Farouk Musa, Hishamuddin Rais, Liau Kok Fah, Maria Chin Abdullah, Matthew Vincent, Niloh Ason, Richard Yeoh, Dr Subramaniam Pillay, Datuk Dr Toh Kin Woon, Dr Wong Chin Huat, Datuk Yeo Yang Poh and Zaid Kamaruddin.
Safeguard the environment
We are all looking forward to a change of government. We also want whichever government which comes into place to be mindful and to uphold their pledge to safeguard the environment.
We want the new government to adopt policies that enable sustainable development of the economy, rather than one-shot kind of economic stimulus packages. We also hope the government will institute consultation panels or committees to consult the people.
They should pass a law where whatever projects which affect the environment and livelihood of people, the government should first consult the people affected.
Hopefully the new government will also adopt policies where citizens are drafted into committees which oversee and supervise such industries so that the people will benefit and not just do what the government say is right.
What we’re trying to say is that the new government should be more people-oriented.
Hopefully there will be some Members of Parliament, under whichever political party, who will focus their energies on the defense of the environment and on sustainable development issues. That’s our wish.
Tan Bun Teet
Spokesperson – Save Malaysia, Stop Lynas (SMSL)
Public safety, corruption top priority for residents
Damai Perdana Resident’s Association chairperson Chew Leng Soon said security is on top of his GE13 wishlist as he felt crime is on the rise.
“We can go about our lives, work and earn a living no problem, but security is a big issue, it is very important,” said Chew.
Chew said it does not matter which political party forms the government of the day but public safety needs to be a priority to those in power.
He suggests that the police force should receive increased allocations and manpower.
“Security is very important and it should be improved; if manpower is not enough in the police force then increase it,” he stressed.
Klang Zone 23 Residents Committee (JKP) treasurer Swarn Singh said eradicating corruption should be a top agenda of anyone who forms the government.
He said corruption is rife within the civil service and it is the source of many leakages.
“We should get rid of corruption in the civil service, and also at the top level of government; you can see a lot of money wasted here and there (due to corruption),” said Swarn.
To combat corruption effectively, he said the independence of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) must first be restored.
“They (MACC) must be independent, look at how Hong Kong and Singapore is doing; if Singapore can do it, why can’t we?” Swarn asked.
Swarn’s second wish is for the government of the day to prioritise fairness for all Malaysians regardless of race and religion.
He said eliminating racial and religious discrimination should also be a top priority and the government should extend the same opportunities to everyone.
“The government say they are open, but the fact is there is nothing there for others; even when you take a loan at a bank they will ask you about your race or religion,” said Swarn.
Echoing Swarn’s sentiments is the Malaysian Concultative Council of Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, and Taoists (MCCBCHST), who hopes the government will be fair to all.
“We hope the government can be fair to people from all races and religion, and we don’t want just slogans, we want it to be translated into action,” said MCCBCHST president Daozhang Tan Hoe Chieow.
“This is especially true in issues that also affect non-Muslims in the country, we are very cautious when it comes to this.”
The Council also hopes that the government can be more people-centric by being in touch with the public more.
I hope for some big changes in the upcoming election, like less corruption, as the government always professes for a cleaner administration.
My hope is that they will also give homes like ours more support both financially and also in other things like creating awareness and organise educational programmes for the children.
We need more help and support from them, especially those homes in the outskirts, more awareness campaigns should be held to educate the public on it.
General Manager – Shelter Home
Iwish the government would lower income tax as I think our tax rate is one of the highest in Asia. It’s about time to lower it.
Also at the same time, bring the price of cars down. It’s very expensive and we are taking too long just to pay it off, what with the high price of living and all.
Joint Management Body (JMB) – Saujana Residency
I hope the government will keep their promise and carry out the manifesto’s that they mentioned in the last election and also extend the Jom Shopping programme to make it annually instead of a one off.
Also it would be good if the state can have more programmes for the seniors apart from the existing Golden Old Age Scheme.
I would also like to thank the current state government for improving infrastructure at villages, especially at our village where roads are resurfaced and old drains upgraded.
Village Head– Rantau Panjang Klang
The 13th General Election is just around the corner. As a student movement directly involved in national politics, we hope to see positive changes in policies affecting university students after the elections including:
1. The abolition of the Universities and University Colleges Act (AUKU) to ensure the independence and autonomy of our academic institutions. We believe that all tertiary institutions, its lecturers, staff and students should be free to state their opinions and issue statements whether in favour or critical of government policies.
2. The implementation of free education and the abolition of the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN). We are confident that students will vote for any party with the political will and commitment to implement this policy.
3. SMM hopes the government will respect and uphold a citizen’s fundamental rights. Everyone must be allowed to exercise their freedom of expression and freedom to assemble as provided for under the Federal Constitution.
We strongly condemn any action to deny these rights as has happened to one of our activists Umar Mohamad Azmi, who was handed a one-month jail term and RM1,000 fine by the magistrate court on Dec 21. (Umar was charged under Section 186 of the Penal Code for obstructing a Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) officer from discharging his duty to arrest another activist Fahmi Reza during a DBKL surprise raid on a protest camp at Dataran Merdeka on April 22. The Kuala Lumpur High Court granted a stay of execution on his jail sentence pending an appeal on Dec 24.)
We call on all citizens especially youths to create a better Malaysia by voting wisely in the upcoming elections.
President of Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia
As has been predicted by many parties, the upcoming general election will be the most fiercely contested. Recent incidents of violence especially committed against the opposition were signs of exasperation of the ruling elite. This was also an evidence of a corrupt political system.
As a Bersih 2.0 steering committee member; I am saddened with the government response to our demand for a fair and free election. The slogan of reform sounds hollow. There is no real effort even by the Election Commission to show its commitment in implementing reforms that are badly needed.
The coming election will be an indication whether Malaysians are ready for change. The focus should be on the issues that are plaguing our country such as corruption and erosion of human rights and freedom.
We should be more concerned with good governance, rule of law, a truly democratic political system and an equal distribution of wealth than being obsessed with hudud or turning this country to become an Islamic state.
The challenge ahead of us is to live together as equals without fear of any discrimination based on race, creed or sexual orientation. Any party that wishes to rule this country must show its commitment in eliminating any form of racism, classism or sexism while embraces pluralism and shows its devotion to dispense justice and equality in its manifesto.
Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa
Director – Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)