Next PM should ensure institutional reforms for a better democracy


  • Letters
  • Wednesday, 18 Aug 2021

G25 Malaysia welcomes the resignation of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as prime minister together with his Cabinet as it helps to reduce the political tensions in the country.

Hopefully, the resignation will serve as a reminder to our top political leaders that the Malaysian public expects them to respect the provisions in the Constitution regarding the position of the prime minister who has lost the majority support of the MPs. It is to Muhyiddin's credit that he has openly admitted that as he no longer has the mandate to be prime minister, he is stepping down.

This will open the opportunity for the political parties to make a bid in Parliament for their candidates to be the new prime minister.

We thank Muhyiddin for his service to the country during his short term as prime minister and wish him all the best for the future.

Muhyiddin's resignation augurs well for the country as it demonstrates respect for the Constitution which requires that a prime minister must have majority support in Parliament in order to continue in office.

By resigning honourably, he has saved the country from the chaos that has so often turned developing countries into failed states.

We hope that as the competing political parties propose their candidates to get parliamentary support for the post of prime minister, they will not only choose the right person to lead our multiracial country but also, a leader who shows a strong commitment to the reforms that have now become more urgent than before.

The reforms were promised to the rakyat when the Pakatan Harapan government came to power in the May 2018 General Election.

Muhyiddin had also proposed to introduce reforms if he was given support in parliament to remain as prime minister. The next premier cannot afford to avoid introducing reforms as the public will be disappointed once again.

The people are now politically more mature to know that with strong institutions to ensure good governance and clean administration, Malaysia can progress better to become a high income, fully developed country.

In the parliamentary system of democracy as practised in many Commonwealth countries, sudden changes in party alliances can happen to make or break a prime minister and his Cabinet.

However, this is no cause for concern if the institutions of law and order are strong and the governance is open and accountable. A minority government can still function effectively to provide certainty and stability in the running of the country.

We, the G25, therefore call upon the next prime minister and his ministers to make the historic change towards the institutional reforms for a better democracy.

G25 had the opportunity to present its proposals to the Institutional Reforms Committee under the Council of Eminent Persons set up by the Pakatan government in 2018.

Since then, there has been no progress made on reforming the institutions of government to make them free and independent of the executive, so that they can be effective in providing the checks and balance on the prime minister, the Cabinet ministers and the implementing agencies against fraud, corruption, cronyism, nepotism and other forms of abuse of power.

All these bad practices give Malaysia a bad image across the world. Scandals like 1MDB, secret foreign transfers for political donations, party bribing and hopping and back door changes of government must not happen again.

The reform proposals that have been made by G25 and other civil society groups are wide ranging. They include parliament, the judiciary, Attorney General’s Chambers, political funding, police, civil service and the media.

All these institutions must be free and independent of the Prime Minister and his cabinet.

In today’s increasingly globalised world, where human resources and talent are the key deciding factors between success and failure among nations, Malaysia can no longer afford to keep repressive laws on human rights that restrict individual rights and freedoms, including the right to challenge and criticise those holding positions of power. There is also increasing criticism on the exploitation of race-based policies for political advantage.

On economic policies, we agree that government intervention is important and necessary to help the poor and the disadvantaged especially among the Malays and other bumiputra community in line with the Shared Prosperity Vision which we understand will be enunciated in the 12th Malaysia Plan (2021-2025) and presented to parliament.

But such interventionist policies must be based on needs, not race, as recommended in the New Economic Model Report to the government a few years ago.

We therefore call for all these social and economic policies to be reviewed and reformed as well by the new prime minister and his government.

G25 Malaysia

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