The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) expresses regret that the prime minister has made a request for an early dissolution of the 14th Parliament, to which the King conventionally always grants assent.
Now, the Election Commission must call for polling to take place within 60 days.
Bersih reiterates our view that it is irresponsible to risk life and property loss for a dubious claim of achieving political stability. The authorities, including the Election Commission may be forced to halt the upcoming general election in areas affected – or, if too many areas are affected, suspend it nationwide.
Bersih praises the stand taken by six state governments that they would not simultaneously dissolve their state legislatures this time, as has been the convention, as they want to prioritise flood relief efforts.
The states are those controlled by Pakatan Harapan – Selangor, Penang and Negeri Sembilan, as well as Pas-controlled Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah.
The six states should negotiate and announce a common dissolution date between 25 June (automatic dissolution date for Selangor) and 1 August (Penang) to set the new constitutional convention of full-term assemblies and to avoid the public having to guess the next election dates.
Bersih also regrets that the general election is called before the 2023 Budget is passed. It is utter contempt of Parliament when the ‘candies’ in the Budget are dangled before the public as the election goodies of the PM’s party even as the Budget did not go through parliamentary debates to scrutinise its merits and costs.
- Sign up for Aliran's free daily email updates or weekly newsletters or both
- Make a one-off donation to Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara, CIMB a/c 8004240948
- Make a regular pledge or periodic auto-donation to Aliran
- Become an Aliran member
Furthermore, Bersih is concerned that regardless of whichever parties come to power, they would need to table the Budget again, whether the same or a different one. This may become a crisis point, resulting in the collapse of the new government if its Budget is voted down by its coalition partners.
Amid the double risks related to the flood and Budget, Bersih calls upon all voters to come out to vote. A high turnout can give legitimacy to the 15th Parliament, where the MPs elected are truly representing the majority of their constituents, and the new government formed can be assured that the majority of eligible voters support them.
Bersih calls on the Election Commission to immediately open up postal voting applications to all overseas Malaysians and to give absentee voting rights to East Malaysians living in the peninsula, as well as West Malaysians living in the Borneo territories. These measures could potentially enfranchise up to 2.5 million eligible voters.
Besides voting, Malaysians should demand that political parties and contestants commit themselves to key institutional reforms to stabilise politics after the general election – among the most important ones [being reforms to the] Attorney General Chambers and public funding of political parties. – Bersih