In the run-up to the coming general election, six civil society groups have jointly issued a clarion call to the people of Malaysia and those who wish to become the country’s leaders.
So far, 53 civil society and public interest groups have endorsed this People’s Agenda.
Acknowledging the mood of anger, frustration, indifference, fatigue and despair of many over the current state of the nation, the six co-sponsors – comprising Aliran Kesedaran Negara (Aliran), Pacos Trust from Sabah, Pergerakan Tenaga Akademi Malaysia (Gerak), Save Rivers from Sarawak, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) and Undi18 are urging people not to give up but to fight back through the ballot box.
The groups have highlighted five points for both voters and candidates to consider as part of a People’s Agenda in the general election.
- Uphold the dignity and quality of life of the people
- Promote equitable, sustainable development and address the climate crisis
- Celebrate diversity and inclusivity
- Save democracy and uphold the rule of law
- Fight corruption and cronyism
Voters are strongly encouraged to come forward despite past disappointments and vote for candidates and parties who have shown commitment to these five points.
Political parties and candidates should work together on these five points at the general election and avoid multi-cornered fights for the sake of the nation
At the press conference, Aliran president Anil Netto introduced the People’s Agenda, its content and the reason behind its launching and the mobilisation of support.
Thus far, the People’s Agenda has received endorsement from 53 civil society and public interest groups.
Representatives from each of the five other groups then took turns to speak briefly on each of the five points in the People’s Agenda.
Anne Lasimbang, executive director of Pacos Trust, a community-based organisation in Sabah, spoke on why it is crucial to raise the dignity and quality of life of the people.
Peter Kallang, the chairman and founder of Save Rivers, a Sarawakian organisation that empowers rural communities to protect their land and rivers, spoke on why we have to promote sustainable development and tackle the climate crisis.
Ngo Sheau Shi, an exco member of the academic freedom movement Gerak, highlighted the importance of promoting diversity to create a more inclusive society.
Sevan Doraisamy, the executive director of human rights group Suaram, touched on why it is so important to uphold democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
Finally, Tharma Pillai, co-founder of Undi18, stressed that the fight against corruption and cronyism must be prioritised as well.
The session was moderated by Gerak chairperson Prof Zaharom Nain.
Anil then touched on how we can move the People’s Agenda forward.
- The People’s Agenda will still remain open for endorsement by other civil society groups until the general election so that it reaches a wider audience
- The People’s Agenda will be sent to all political parties at the end of April and once again when the general election is announced
- Between May and July, the six main groups will co-host a series of public webinars on each of the five points in the People’ Agenda. Political party representatives will be invited to share their views and their political party commitments on each of these points. In this way, the public will be able to judge the calibre and commitment of the political parties and hold them to account.
The full People’s Agenda and list of endorsers can be seen here.
Reclaim the nation! Return power to the people.Aliran Kesedaran Negara (Aliran)
Pacos Trust (Sabah)
Pergerakan Tenaga Akademi Malaysia (Gerak)
Save Rivers (Sarawak)
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram)