'Non-partisan govt' a dictatorship by any other name, warns Bersih


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 27 Feb 2020

PETALING JAYA: A non-partisan government could be “dictatorial”, says electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 as it calls for fresh polls to be held in view of the current political crisis plaguing country.

Bersih in a statement on Thursday (Feb 27) said that while the motivation for interim Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's proposal for a non-partisan government was “noble”, it would give the Prime Minister absolute power.

“While the motivation for such a proposal may be noble given the political and economic crisis, we have clearly expressed our objection to such a notion as it would effectively give the prime minister dictatorial powers with no accountability, ” it said.

It added that a non-partisan government which comprised members from all the country's political party would also nullify the mandate given by voters in the 14th General Election (GE14) to Pakatan Harapan.

“As such, we call on the people to reject such a government, ” it said.

Bersih said that should the political crisis continue, Mahathir should request Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah to dissolve Parliament and call for fresh polls.

“This is not an ideal time for a snap election, given the fact that deep structural defects of malapportionment and gerrymandering from GE14 not only remain in our electoral boundaries but have gotten worse.

“Other issues, such as the lowering of voting age to 18 and automatic voters registration, have not been implemented, and a snap election now would disenfranchised almost five million potential voters.

“But as a nation we cannot afford to have a non-functioning government when we are facing stormy economic challenges and a snap election would be the lesser of two evils, ” said Bersih 2.0.

The new prime minister and government should also set the tone for reconciliation for all Malaysians, said Bersih.

“Political divides among the people are often viewed through racial lenses and the hate among some has reached a dangerous level.

As the prime minister for all Malaysians, he or she must lead by example and reach out to all his or her opponents, even those who had inflicted the deepest wound on him or her.

“This is not the time for political revenge but for national reconciliation, ” it added.

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