KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 27 — Electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 today challenged parties contesting in the upcoming Melaka state election to promise political stability after the poll by way of five institutional reforms.
Its chairman Thomas Fann called on the parties to include these reforms in their election manifestos, “so that Melaka’s voters know that their vote and mandate will not lose meaning after the elections”.
The first proposal is to promise a “party-hopping control and political accountability enactment” that will effectively allow voters in a constituency to “sack” elected representatives who change parties or coalitions after the elections.
“Representatives who party-hopped or were fired from their party, either due to political differences or the pursuit of personal interests will be judged by the people on whether they should be dismissed or retained, through the collection of petitions, which would have a certain threshold value,” he said in a virtual news conference.
The second proposal is for a state law that makes it compulsory for a new chief minister or mentri besar to undergo a “confirmatory vote of no confidence” after being appointed.
This was followed by a proposal to introduce a “constructive vote of no confidence”, which would stop a chief minister/mentri besar from being dropped through a no-confidence vote, unless a replacement is named and proved to have the support of a simple majority of the assemblymen, through the same vote.
“An election would not be needed if a chief minister can be replaced with such a method.
“This would reduce the power of a small group to hold a head to ransom,” said Fann, adding that such a method could also be employed to protect the role of Malaysia’s prime minister.
The fourth proposed reform is to enact a law that would ensure each elected representative receives the same allocation in funds to develop the constituency, whether he or she is from the government or Opposition.
The fifth proposal included two reforms for the state legislative assembly “so that it is truly free from the Executive branch”.
Bersih 2.0 suggested that a committee made up of both Opposition and government parties should get to decide the agenda for the assembly, as opposed to the agenda being decided by the chief minister or speaker alone.
It added that more select committees should be established, with a composition that reflects the ratio of non-exco assemblymen of each party in the state assembly, and which guarantees
the participation of both government backbenchers and Opposition assemblymen.
The Melaka state assembly was dissolved on October 4, after four pro-government assemblymen withdrew their support for chief minister Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali, forcing a state election.
Official campaigning will begin on nomination day on November 8, and ends with polling on November 20.
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