Continue reform process or call for election, politicians told

R. Loheswar
Sasidaran (left) urged the elected representatives to firmly focus and continue with the reform process and not allow Malaysia to revert to the old corrupt and divisive politics. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 25 — Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) today urged all political parties to remember their pledge to the people, to instill reforms in the government and not get carried away with a power struggle.

LFL director Melissa Sasidaran said the people had high hopes for Pakatan Harapan (PH), but the recent collapse of the government has thrown shade on PH’s ability to fulfill its promises, amidst attempts to form a backdoor government.

“The PH coalition was always going to face challenges, but progress was being made towards genuine reform. Under this administration, Malaysia has become a more accountable, transparent and rights-respecting democracy.

“Unfortunately, the coalition has also been tainted by the relentless tussle for power since GE14. Instead of building on the trust and goodwill of the people, this has jeopardised the momentous opportunity for change and disregarded the people’s mandate,” said Melissa in a statement.

“We urge the elected representatives to firmly focus and continue with the reform process and not allow Malaysia to revert to the old corrupt and divisive politics that we voted to leave behind.”

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had resigned as prime minister yesterday, after two days of intense speculation that he would lead his political party Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) to exit the ruling coalition PH and form a new government with new coalition partners.

At about the same time when news of his resignation surfaced, PPBM also announced that it had decided yesterday to pull out of the PH coalition.

Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Mohd Zuki Ali yesterday evening announced that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had accepted Dr Mahathir’s resignation and appointed the latter to be the interim prime minister, until a new prime minister is appointed and a new Cabinet is formed.

Meanwhile, the new alliance was rumored to be named Perikatan Nasional and, and would include several leaders from DAP, Amanah (Parti Amanah Negara), GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak), Umno and PAS.

This group is led by former PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and the party’s former vice-president Zuraida Kamaruddin. Their plan is to get enough seats in to form a new government.

Currently, any coalition needs 112 out of 222 MPs in the Dewan Rakyat to form a new government.

LFL, however, feels that whoever takes over the government must continue the people’s mandate for change and not resort to the old ways of kleptocracy and ambiguity.

“In any democratic society, the government must be formed by and reflect the will of the people it represents. Constitutionally, it is now for the person who can command the confidence of the majority of the Dewan Rakyat to form the new government.

“We call upon all parties to work together for the betterment and future of the country, and not derail the important reform and progress already made thus far,” added Melissa.

“However, if no one is able to command the confidence of the majority of the Dewan Rakyat with a legal and transparent process, then it is proper and democratic for a fresh general election to be called, to allow the people the chance to vote once again and give a fresh and resounding mandate to the new prime minister and the government,” she said.


 

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