Aliran held its 44th annual general meeting virtually for the first time due to the movement restrictions in place. The meeting over Zoom this morning saw a higher turnout than preceding years, with members from all over Malaysia and beyond taking part.
In his address to members, Aliran president Anil Netto outlined the extraordinary circumstances we face: the Sheraton Move, which led to an unelected government, the failure to obtain a vote of confidence in Parliament, job losses and widespread hardship due to the pandemic, and now tough high-stakes Budget negotiations.
Double standards in the enforcement of pandemic control measures, especially after the Sabah election, and a spate of political defections and shifting alliances among elected representatives have led to a trust deficit in politicians, Anil said. The formation of an almost monolithic ethno-religious government and accompanying polarisation is a worrying development in a diverse nation.
But rays of hope have emerged. The youth have stepped up to make their voices heard, focusing on the issues that affect the people rather than from an ethno-religious perspective. “The pandemic also offers us space to reflect on where we are as a nation and a chance to reset our economic and investment priorities for a more sustainable future.”
For Aliran, the lockdowns have allowed us to reflect, analyse and write about where we are as a nation and where we want to be. Encouragingly, our website drew 62% more visitors than last year.
Members present felt Aliran could build on this and play a greater role in promoting unity in diversity, reforms and sustainability, especially through online discussions and webinars, in the coming year.
They re-elected Anil Netto as Aliran president, Dr Azmil Tayeb as honorary secretary, Dr Prema Devaraj as honorary assistant secretary and Henry Loh as honorary treasurer.
Also re-elected to the executive committee were Dr Francis Loh, Dr Mustafa K Anuar, Andrew Wong, Prof Zaharom Nain, K Haridas, Dr Khoo Ying Hooi, Norhidayah Nadila and Dineskumar Ragu. Making a return to the committee was Dr Christopher Chong.
New faces elected to the committee were Mary Magdaline Pereira and John Fong.
Leena Mohan was elected the honorary auditor.
Dr Azmil Tayeb
Aliran honorary secretary
28 November 2020