Monday, March 08, 2010

NGOs: Let elected reps resign and re-contest

More than 100 civil society groups have demanded for sweeping reforms to election laws to avoid elected representatives from defecting.

Among others, the groups are demanding for changes in legislations to allow an elected representative to resign and seek a new mandate where necessary.

Present laws bar any elected representative from contesting for Parliamentary or state legislative assembly seats for five years.

The NGOs urged political parties respect the decisions of voters, saying the latest defections from PKR are both a betrayal of the voters and an assault to the party system.

NONE"These undemocratic acts disrupt our public life and threaten political stability. Malaysia would be in total chaos and may witness coups if the popular mandate can be ignored and violated at whim," they said in a statement entitled 'Make Democracy the Only Game in Town'.

The Barisan Nasional federal government did not escape censure either.

Politically-motivated investigations, prosecutions, harassment and detention of opposition leaders, civil society activists, journalists and bloggers have threatened democracy, they said.

Six demands

The groups called on the political parties to promise six basic reforms in their present or future capacity as the federal and state governments:

1. That Article 48(6) of the federal constitution and similar provisions in state constitutions be amended to allow elected representatives to resign and re-contest when they disagree with their party;

2. That 'recall elections' be introduced so that voters may sack elected representatives who underperform or betray their mandate;

3. That the federal government respects the spirit of federalism and treat all state governments and MPs without discrimination regardless of party affiliation in term of grants, subsidies, royalties, allowance and support;

4. That state governments treat all state assemblypersons without discrimination regardless of party affiliation in term of allowance and support;

5. That the federal government and the state governments amend the federal constitution and all related laws to facilitate the conduct of local government elections so that all parties may have the opportunity to win representation at this level; and

6. That all anti-human rights legislation be repealed and all politically-motivated investigation and prosecution be stopped immediately.

azlanUrging Malaysians to pursue these demands with both BN and Pakatan Rakyat, the groups also encouraged those not registered as voters to do so immediately.

"We must defend the fruit of March 8 and defeat all attempts to roll back the democratisation process," they added.

Among groups that endorsed the stand include Aliran Kesedaran Negara, All Women's Action Society, Centre for Independent Journalism, Centre for Policy Initiatives, Civil Society Initiative for Parliamentary Reform, Council of Churches Malaysia, Council of Temples Malaysia and Jamaah Islah Malaysia.

Move towards 'third vote'

In another development, the Coalition for Good Governance (CGG) today commended the Penang and Selangor governments for making a move to bring back local council elections.

Should the Election Commission refuse to cooperate, CGG proposed that the state governments should conduct a People-Oriented Selection Process (POSP).

“POSP will run like an election, whereby candidates are 'nominated' by communities at their constituency levels,” CGG said in a statement.

“Once nominated, the state government will name and appoint these nominees as the rightful councillors for the specified constituency.

“This method can be carried out at the shortest possible time frame - within 12 months. The POSP will enable citizens to reclaim their rights to the third vote.”

Calling it “political maturity”, the CGG strongly urged the federal government to restore local council elections in other states as well.

courtesy of Malaysiakini

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