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The Demands from Civil Society Groups

March 8, 2010
Make democracy the only game in town
Monday, 08 March 2010 11:17

Some one hundred civil society groups have issued a joint statement on the second anniversary of the watershed 8 March 2008 general election.

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.

8 March 2010

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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