PETALING JAYA: The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) has called on Pakatan Harapan to start delivering on its promises to reform key institutions, as well as to set a definite date for the transition to the next prime minister.
The electoral watchdog said although it had been more than 19 months since Pakatan took over the government, little had been done to fulfil its manifesto's promises of institutional and political reform.
“Instead of fulfilling the people's expectation of a Malaysia Baharu (New Malaysia), we are fed with gutter politics, power struggles, political intrigues, and racial and religious rhetoric that are destabilising our country and causing a dissipation of hope among those who voted for change, ” it said in a statement Thursday (Jan 2).
Out of the 19 promises regarding institutional and political reforms under Pillar 2 of the Pakatan manifesto, most were unfulfilled or, at best, minimally fulfilled, said Bersih.
These included limiting the term and power of the prime minister (Promise 12), reforming the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (Promise 14), and separating the office of the Attorney General and Public Prosecutor (Promise 15).
The other promises included restoring the dignity of Parliament (Promise 16), reforming the election system (Promise 17), enacting political financing legislation (Promise 18), restoring public trust in judicial and legal institutions (Promise 19), freeing government-linked companies or GLCs from political patronage (Promise 22), reviving the true spirit of federalism (Promise 24), strengthening local democracy (Promise 25), and abolishing oppressive laws (Promise 27).
Bersih said many of these reforms could be achieved without amendments to the Federal Constitution.
And where constitutional amendments were required, the Opposition should be persuaded to support them as any reform that could check a government's power would be in its interest as well, the electoral watchdog added.
Bersih also proposed the number of days for parliamentary sittings be extended, with a minimum of 100 days per year, at least for the first three years of the Pakatan government, until all needed legislative reforms were carried out.
It stressed that there should be a clear date and process in the transition of the post of prime minister.
The Pakatan presidential council should restore political stability by announcing a clear transition plan with a set date.
The consequences of not having a clear transition plan in place and not committing to the reform agenda were far-reaching, it warned.
“Political power struggles, conspiracy theories, rumours and fake news is creating a climate of uncertainty and instability, eroding confidence in the government of the day.
“Both local and foreign investors and civil servants would be taking a wait-and-see attitude, expecting that Pakatan would be a one-term government, thus withholding their support and cooperation, ” Bersih said.