Tomorrow, 16 September, will be the last Malaysia Day before the coming general election.
Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM) would like to wish all Malaysians a Happy 59th Malaysia Day, and to take this opportunity to call on all eligible voters to turn out to vote in the general election to elect a well-represented government – unlike the very low turnout rate seen in the last Johor state election (turnout rate at about 55% versus 82% in the last general election).
The newly passed Undi 18 law (in December 2021) [to lower the minimum voting age from 21 to 18], including automatic voter registration, has expanded the voter size by about 40%.
Malaysians have seen several signs of progress this past year. On the positive side, made possible by the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on transformation and political stability between the government and Pakatan Harapan (PH), we saw a constitutional amendment to restore the status of Sabah and Sarawak as equal partners passed in December 2021 and a constitutional amendment in July 2022 to enact an anti-‘hopping’ law [to curb party defections].
The former Prime Minister, Najib Razak, was jailed in August 2022, after losing the final appeal for one of his five cases of abuse of power, signalling a victory for the rule of law.
All the above could not have been achieved without the historic 2018 general election, which saw the first change of government in Malaysia after some sixty years.
On the downside, we also witnessed the unfolding of the littoral combat ships scandal in government procurement management, the sluggish post-lockdown economic recovery management, the lack of national unity, the cluelessness in dealing with the climate crisis, the lagging in upholding gender equality and children’s welfare as well as the Court of Appeal’s recent overturning of last year’s High Court decision granting citizenship to children born overseas to Malaysian mothers.
GBM believes Malaysians should proactively demand that politicians respond to these pressing matters, and has collaborated with the CSO Platform for Reform in 2021 on Manifesto Rakyat (People’s Manifesto). The manifesto is a living document that aims to serve as a contemporary reference for political parties and an advocacy platform for civil society as a whole. The manifesto can be read at manifestorakyat2021.org and is open for public endorsement by chapter or in its entirety.
On this Malaysia Day, we appeal to all – the government, politicians, civil society and the people – to continue to make our nation better.
Selamat Hari Malaysia. – GBM
Endorsed by the following GBM member organisations:
- All Women’s Action Society (Awam)
- Buddhist Missionary Society Malaysia
- Engage Network
- Educational, Welfare and Research Foundation Malaysia
- Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hal (KLSCAH)
- LLG Cultural Development Centre
- Merdeka Universiti Berhad
- Monsoons Malaysia
- Partners in Community Organising (Pacos Trust)
- Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara (Aliran)
- Persatuan Bekas Siswazah Universiti dan Kolej di China, Malaysia (Liu Hua)
- Persatuan Penduduk Petaling Jaya (MyPJ)
- Pertubuhan Ikram Malaysia (Ikram)
- Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia
- Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram)
- Tamil Foundation Malaysia
- Tindak Malaysia
- United Chinese School Alumni Association of Malaysia