Johor challenge: No stability and accountability without political and institutional reform
The Coalition for Clean and Fair Election (Bersih) challenges all political parties and election candidates in the Johor polls to promise stability and accountability after the election through political system and institutional reform as their main agenda in the election manifesto.
Bersih is of the view that political stability alone is not sufficient if there is no accountability, and this is very important to restore the people’s confidence in the democratic system in our country.
Our political system is lagging behind, and it is time for our democracy to move forward through political reforms to become healthier, mature and professional.
Therefore, in the interest of political stability and a more mature and healthy democratic system, we urge the candidates and political parties who will be contesting in the Johor state election to take up the Johor challenge by promising the following reforms – not only in their manifestos but also they should prepare to work with other parties to realise these reforms, which may require amendments to the state constitution:
1. Enact a recall procedure enactment to empower voters’ supremacy to recall their representative who has ‘hopped party or coalition’ [defected]. Voters will be able to determine whether to keep or sack those who ‘party hopped’ or were dismissed by the party leadership due to political differences or who were chasing their self-interest, through an election petition that fulfils a certain threshold.
2. Introduce a constructive vote of no confidence by amending the state constitution and standing orders of the state assembly to make it compulsory that the menteri besar cannot be ousted unless a vote of no confidence also contains the name of his successor approved by a simple majority, and no new election should be required if the new menteri besar can be replaced by such a method.
This process needs to take place and be proven in the state assembly. This also can prevent a divided opposition from toppling the government when they themselves do not have a majority.
3. Enact a constituency development fund to guarantee equal constituency funds to all elected representatives regardless of whether they are state assembly members of the ruling or opposition parties.
Unequal constituency development funds will only punish the people in the constituencies and create an unlevel playing field between government representatives and opposition representatives.
4. Enact a public funding of political parties enactment based on the share of votes they [the political parties] received in the last general election. Public funding of political parties can reduce the political parties’ focus on finding funds for their party operations and assist their elected representatives in carrying out research and producing better policies. Only parties achieving a certain threshold will receive this funding.
5. Enact a fixed-term assembly enactment to make it compulsory for a menteri besar to get two-thirds’ majority support in the state assembly if he or she wants to dissolve the state assembly before the end of the term. This legislation will not interfere with the power of the sultan to dissolve the state assembly.
6. Introduce a two-term limit for the menteri besar’s position to allow for new menteri besar candidates so that there will always be a new generation of leaders who are more competent and energetic.
7. Introduce top-up women-only additional seats to reach a 30% of elected women representatives quota in the state assembly. If the number of state assemblywomen after the Johor polls is less than 30% (at least 17 from 56 seats), additional women representatives will be appointed to fill the quota.
Unlike Sabah, Terengganu, Pahang and Malacca, representatives of these top-up women-only additional seats cannot be monopolised by government parties. Instead, these that need to be filled will be distributed proportionately to all contesting parties based on the percentage of votes they get.
The elected representatives in the top-up women-only additional seats will be performing their duty to all Johor voters without any constituency through state assembly committees. The additional representatives can only be elected for a term to give way to new representatives. (For more info on this system, please refer to the white paper produced by Penang.)
Bersih urges all the parties and election candidates to commit to this reform agenda immediately.
This reform agenda should be the core of the election manifesto so that politics will not be manipulated by the interests of certain parties and turn its back on the people and undermine the political institutions of our country.
Those who refuse to commit to this proposal hope to profit from the loopholes that exist in our political system [and] should be punished by the voters in Johor.
Bersih also urges all parties accepting the Johor challenge to sign a healthy competition agreement to pledge their readiness to accept the people’s decision on polling day – [ie that they] will not entice the other parties’ assembly members to defect – [and to] work with each other in amending the state constitution and standing orders and in enacting new laws to realise the Johor challenge. – Bersih
- Tegakkan maruah serta kualiti kehidupan rakyat
- Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
- Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
- Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
- Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
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