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Election 2022: Engaging candidates on their manifesto for the environment

Who do we vote for - candidate, party, coalition, PM or manifesto?

Rumput laut - Seagrass - HENG WEI KHANG

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Malaysia’s electoral system uses the first-past-the-post system to elect MPs and state assembly members.

So our votes will determine which candidates will become our elected representatives in Parliament and the state assemblies.

The formation of the next government, appointments to the cabinet and the selection of the prime minister will depend on post-election negotiations, which are mainly out of voters’ control.

What we have is the manifesto of the candidate’s party, which becomes an important document for us voters to engage with our prospective MPs and later, the elected MP – and to hold them accountable to that for the next general election. It is also a useful document in formulating laws related to the environment, climate change and food security, where expert opinions are much needed.

I compared the environmental manifestos of the three main coalitions (see the image below). In brief, Perikatan Nasional’s talks about setting up a committee or action group; Barisan Nasional appears to want to throw money at the problem while Pakatan Harapan aims to legislate sustainable solutions.

To get further insight into the environmental issues I am keen about, I emailed the three prospective MPs of Segambut to ask about much-needed legislation to protect the environment and mitigate against climate change. The questions were specific and measurable, with a timeframe towards sustainable development goals:

If you are elected as MP for Segambut in the general election, please indicate which of the following legislation you will table or support as private member’s bill or part of another bill in Parliament:

1) Bill to declare a national climate emergency

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2) Bill to ban unsustainable logging, deforestation or submerging forest; larger than 1.76 acres (one football pitch)

3) Bill to ban reclamation larger than 50m x 50 m (half a football pitch) per km of shoreline

4) Bill to reduce gross national greenhouse gases emissions by 3% per annum annually over the next 20 years using 2022 as a base line

For the answers to the above, if Yes, please give deadline; if No, what is your alternative?

Sadly or luckily, I received only one reply as at 16 November:

Dear Simon,

I am unable to state the deadline on these bills as these are items requiring detailed research. However, I can assure you that climate change remains a priority issue for us elected representatives in KL because of the frequent flash floods.

Our Anwar Ibrahim has hosted a symposium in Parliament recently just to discuss climate change. This is also in our manifesto to address it via legislation.

On deforestation, you can see that in my fight to preserve Taman Rimba Kiara and we have also gazetted Bukit Kiara.

The other two topics will require further research but I assure you my vote in Parliament would always go toward preserving all the good we enjoy today for our children’s sake. Children are my passion.

Hannah, 11 Nov 2022

The above four questions are just some of the few environmental issues that I am passionate about, after years of sharing ideas with Gabungan Darurat Iklim, the climate emergency coalition of environmental NGOs.

For other issues, please compare the manifestos of the three main coalitions, done by Malaysiakini’s news lab.

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The manifesto of the candidate’s party is thus an important document for us voters to use to engage continually with our elected MPs and state assembly members and to hold them accountable at the general election.

This democratic process must be ongoing.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
  1. Tegakkan maruah serta kualiti kehidupan rakyat
  2. Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
  3. Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
  4. Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
  5. Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
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The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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