Civil Society Joint Statement: Make Democracy the Only Game in Town

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 divide 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 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 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 (CSI @ Parliament)
11. Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM)
12. Council of Temples Malaysia
13. Editorial Board of Horizon E-journal
14. Education and Research Association of Consumer, Malaysia
15. Federation of Indian Non-Governmental Organisations
16. Friends in Conversation (FIC)
17. Gabungan Pertubuhan-pertubuhan Masyarakat India Selangor
18. Gerakan Maju Mahasiswa UPM (GMM UPM)
19. Global Tamil Forum Malaysian Chapter
20. Group of Concerned Citizens
21. Indian Builders Association of Malaysia
22. Indian Malaysian Active Generation (IMAGE)
23. Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)
24. Jamaah Islah Malaysia (JIM)
25. Johor Tamizhar Sangam
26. Kelab Bell Belia Selangor
27. Klang Consumer Association
28. Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall Youth Section
29. Kuala Lumpur Hindu Youth Organisation (KLHYO)
30. Kuala Lumpur Indian Entrepreneurs and Professionals
31. LLG Cultural Development Centre Bhd (LLG)
32. Majlis Kelab Bell Belia Tamil Malaysia
33. Malaysia Arulneri Thirukootam
34. Malaysia Hindu Associates of Graduates
35. Malaysia Hindu Dharma Mamandram
36. Malaysia Indian Progressive Educational Society
37. Malaysia Lekshmi Pooja Meditation Society
38. Malaysia Tamil Artiste Association
39. Malaysia Tamil Neri Kalagam
40. Malaysia Thanavasiya Association
41. Malaysia Youth and Students Democratic Movement (DEMA)
42. Malaysian Association of Indian University Graduates
43. Malaysian Dravidian Association
44. Malaysian Indian Business Association
45. Malaysian Indian Development & Unity Association
46. Malaysian Indian Entrepreneurs and Professionals
47. Malaysian Indian Historical Association
48. Malaysian Indian Youth Development Foundation
49. MalaysianVoters Union (MALVU)
50. Nationwide Human Development And Research Centre
51. Penang Du Zhong Education Society
52. Penang Hindu Saba
53. Penang Indian Entrepreneurs and Professionals
54. Penang Watch
55. Penggerak Belia Zon 23 MPSJ
56. Persahabatan Semparuthi
57. Persatuan Alumni Han Chiang Pulau Pinang
58. Persatuan Alumni PBT USM Selangor
59. Persatuan Aruloli Mandram, Malaysia
60. Persatuan kebajikan Artis-artis (T) Perak
61. Persatuan Kebajikan Dan Sosial Kamakshi Wilayah Utara
62. Persatuan Kebajikan Masyarakat dan Sosial Kaum India
63. Persatuan Kebajikan MGR
64. Persatuan Kebajikan Namakkal Malaysia
65. Persatuan Kelab Bell Belia Johor Bahru
66. Persatuan Kemajuan Pendidikan Malaysia
67. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower)
68. Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)
69. Persatuan Meditasi Malaysia (Dhyana Ashram)
70. Persatuan Penduduk Taman Muhibbah
71. Persatuan Prihatin Belia Malaysia
72. Persatuan Sangkara Malaysia
73. Persatuan Seni kebudayaan Thamil, Pulau Pinang
74. Persatuan Silambam Malaysia
75. Persatuan Vallalaar Anbu Nilayam
76. Pusat KOMAS (KOMAS)
77. Research for Social Advancement (REFSA)
78. Rudra Devi Samaj Malaysia
79. Saiva Sivaneri Mandram Malaysia
80. Sarawak Central Region Friendship Association
81. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
82. Selangor Indian Entrepreneurs and Professionals
83. Serdang Bharu School Alumni Youth Section
84. Seremban Tamilar Sangam
85. Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM)
86. SOS (Save ourselves), Penang
87. Student Progressive Front NEC (SPF NEC)
88. Student Progressive Front USM (SPF USM)
89. Student Progressive Front UUM (SPF UUM)
90. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
91. Tenaganita
92. The Micah Mandate (TMM)
93. The New Millennium Indian Business Association of Malaysia
94. Thiruvalluvar Nanneri Mayam Cameron Highlands
95. Thiruvarul Thavaneri Mandram Malaysia
96. Wanita Berdaya Harapan Negara (WIRDA)
97. Workers Organisation of Malaysia (WO)
98. World Tamil Federation – Malaysian Chapter
99. Writer Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)
100. Yayasan Penyelidikan dan Pembangunan Pendidikan Tamil Malaysia (Tamil Foundation)

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