Civil Society Joint Statement on the 2nd Anniversary of March 8 2008 General Elections

March 8, 2010

Two years ago, Malaysians wrote history by weakening UMNO/Barisan Nasional’s electoral one-party state. For the first time since independence, the ruling coalition lost its two-third parliamentary majority and a total of five states were ruled by the opposition parties.

As a result, Malaysians have benefited tremendously from the vibrant competition between Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat. As Pakatan Rakyat advocates “Ketuanan Rakyat” and values like competence, accountability and transparency, Barisan Nasional under Prime Minister Najib Razak has responded with his “1Malaysia” campaign and “Government Transformation Programme”. In brief, Malaysians are enjoying the bonus of democratisation.

Unfortunately, the budding democratisation is also threatened by some politicians from both sides of the divides who refuse to accept “democracy as the only game in town” and try to subvert or undermine the voters’ verdict through some or all of these four unscrupulous means: (a) defection and change of government without fresh elections; (b) politically-motivated investigation, prosecution, harassment and detention of opposition leaders, civil society activists, journalists and bloggers; (c) discrimination in development funding against opposition-run state governments and opposition-won constituencies; (d) media campaign to play up ethno-religious sentiments and to delegitimize the opposition.

These undemocratic acts disrupt our public life and threaten political stability. The latest defection and quitting of PKR lawmakers are both a betrayal to their voters and an assault to Malaysia’s party system. Malaysia would be in total chaos and may witness coups if popular mandate can be ignored and violated at whim.

On the 2nd anniversary of March 8 election, we the undersigned civil society groups call upon all political parties to respect the voters’ verdict and demand for competitive politics made on March 8 2008. We urge them to promise the following six basic reforms in their present or future capacity as 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 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 members of parliament without discrimination regardless of party affiliation in term of grants, subsidies, royalties, allowance, support etc.

4. That the State Governments treats 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 the related laws to facilitate the conduct of local governments elections so that all parties may have the opportunity to win representation in local governments.

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

We also call upon all Malaysians to pursue these demands with both Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat. We call upon all eligible Malaysians who have 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. Come next elections, let us cast our votes based on the coalitions’ fulfilment of or commitments to these demands.

Let us reclaim our country and make democracy the only game in town.

Endorsing Civil Society Groups:

1. Academy of Tamil Studies

2. Aliran Kesedaran Negara (Aliran)

3. All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)

4. Astronomical Research Society of Selangor

5. Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)

6. Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI)

7. Centre of Education. Research and Development (CEDAR)

8. Child Development Initiative

9. Civil Right Committee, Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (CRC-KLSCAH)

10. Civil Society Initiative for Parliamentary Reform ([email protected])

11. Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM)

12. Council of Temples Malaysia

13. Education and Research Association of Consumer, Malaysia

14. Federation of Indian Non-Governmental Organisations

15. Gabungan Pertubuhan-pertubuhan Masyarakat India Selangor

16. Gerakan Maju Mahasiswa UPM (GMM UPM)

17. Global Tamil Forum Malaysian Chapter

18. Group of Concerned Citizens

19. Indian Builders Association of Malaysia

20. Indian Malaysian Active Generation (IMAGE)

21. Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)

22. Jamaah Islah Malaysia (JIM)

23. Johor Tamizhar Sangam

24. Kelab Bell Belia Selangor

25. Klang Consumer Association

26. Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Youth Section

27. Kuala Lumpur Hindu Youth Organisation (KLHYO)

28. Kuala Lumpur Indian Entrepreneurs and Professionals

29. LLG Cultural Development Centre Bhd (LLG)

30. Majlis Kelab Bell Belia Tamil Malaysia

31. Malaysia Arulneri Thirukootam

32. Malaysia Hindu Associates of Graduates

33. Malaysia Hindu Dharma Mamandram

34. Malaysia Indian Progressive Educational Society

35. Malaysia Lekshmi Pooja Meditation Society

36. Malaysia Tamil Artiste Association

37. Malaysia Tamil Neri Kalagam

38. Malaysia Thanavasiya Association

39. Malaysia Youth and Students Democratic Movement (DEMA)

40. Malaysian Association of Indian University Graduates

41. Malaysian Dravidian Association

42. Malaysian Indian Business Association

43. Malaysian Indian Development & Unity Association

44. Malaysian Indian Entrepreneurs and Professionals

45. Malaysian Indian Historical Association

46. Malaysian Indian Youth Development Foundation

47. MalaysianVoters Union (MALVU)

48. Nationwide Human Development And Research Centre

49. Penang Du Zhong Education Society

50. Penang Hindu Saba

51. Penang Indian Entrepreneurs and Professionals

52. Penang Watch

53. Penggerak Belia Zon 23 MPSJ

54. Persahabatan Semparuthi

55. Persatuan Alumni PBT USM Selangor

56. Persatuan Aruloli Mandram, Malaysia

57. Persatuan kebajikan Artis-artis (T) Perak

58. Persatuan Kebajikan Dan Sosial Kamakshi Wilayah Utara

59. Persatuan Kebajikan Masyarakat dan Sosial Kaum India

60. Persatuan Kebajikan MGR

61. Persatuan Kebajikan Namakkal Malaysia

62. Persatuan Kelab Bell Belia Johor Bahru

63. Persatuan Kemajuan Pendidikan Malaysia

64. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower)

65. Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)

66. Persatuan Meditasi Malaysia (Dhyana Ashram)

67. Persatuan Penduduk Taman Muhibbah

68. Persatuan Prihatin Belia Malaysia

69. Persatuan Sangkara Malaysia

70. Persatuan Seni kebudayaan Thamil, Pulau Pinang

71. Persatuan Silambam Malaysia

72. Persatuan Vallalaar Anbu Nilayam

73. Pusat KOMAS (KOMAS)

74. Research for Social Advancement (REFSA)

75. Rudra Devi Samaj Malaysia

76. Saiva Sivaneri Mandram Malaysia

77. Sarawak Central Region Friendship Association

78. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)

79. Selangor Indian Entrepreneurs and Professionals

80. Serdang Bharu School Alumni Youth Section

81. Seremban Tamilar Sangam

82. Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM)

83. SOS(Save ourselves), Penang

84. Student Progressive Front NEC (SPF NEC)

85. Student Progressive Front USM (SPF USM)

86. Student Progressive Front UUM (SPF UUM)

87. Tenaganita

88. The Micah Mandate (TMM)

89. The New Millennium Indian Business Association of Malaysia

90. Thiruvalluvar Nanneri Mayam Cameron Highlands

91. Thiruvarul Thavaneri Mandram Malaysia

92. Wanita Berdaya Harapan Negara (WIRDA)

93. Workers Organisation of Malaysia (WO)

94. World Tamil Federation – Malaysian Chapter

95. Writer Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)

96. Yayasan Penyelidikan dan Pembangunan Pendidikan Tamil Malaysia (Tamil Foundation)




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