Sarawak polls; vetting of key federal appointments

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Prime Minister Najib Razak, centre, posed with Muslim and Christian figures in Sarawak in April after presenting them with cheques. Photograph: Suzanne Lee/Wall Street Journal

Chris Chong looks at the aftermath of the Sarawak state election and a suggestion to have key government appointments vetted by a bipartisan parliamentary committee.

The Sarawak state elections saw the state’s BN returning to power with an overwhelming two-thirds majority in the state assembly.

While the reasons for the BN victory will be dissected in the days to come, it was undeniable that one reason for the defeat of the opposition was the spat between the DAP and the PKR over seat allocations. The failure to come to an agreement led to a three-cornered fight in six seats.

As P Ramakrishnan pointed out, before the elections, such narrow, selfish interests frustrate the rakyat’s aspirations for a vibrant democracy to flourish in the country. In the end, the six seats went to Sarawak BN.

While there is no point crying over spilt milk now, Ramakrishnan noted, “Both the PKR and the DAP must be conscious that they carry the aspirations and expectations of the people for a better Malaysia. They must not fail them.”

Meanwhile, Bersih observed electoral offences in constituencies which they monitored. Bersih is now urging the Elections Commission and the MACC to act on these offences which Bersih had reported to the Elections Commission.

At the federal level, Wishful Accountant argues that key cabinet and government appointments should be vetted by a bipartisan parliamentary committee before they can be confirmed. This committee should also be open to the public and anyone can come forward to testify in the committee with immunity.

Finally, those of you in Penang might be interested in attending a lecture by leading economist Prof Jomo Kwame Sundaram titled ‘TPPA: Future or Fraud’ this Saturday, 14 May 2016. Jomo will discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and its implications. The lecture, organised by Wawasan Open University, is free and open to all interested individuals. More details here.

READ MORE:  Jangan mengecualikan pengundi diaspora dan luar bandar dari pilihan raya Sarawak nanti (Malay/English)

Chris Chong
Co-editor, Aliran newsletter
10 May 2016

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