G25 agrees with civil society groups which are expressing concerns over reports that UMNO leaders are pushing very hard for the general elections (GE15) to be called soon within this year, well head of its five-year term ending on 16 July 2023.
We in G25 feel that since the present Prime Minister is not faced with a vote of no confidence in Parliament, there is no reason for him to request the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, to dissolve Parliament so that the country can go to the polls soon. Any move by the Prime Minister to seek an early dissolution of Parliament (which may or may not be acceded to, at His Majesty’s absolute discretion), in the absence of a vote of no confidence against him, will be seen as a capitulation to the demands of the UMNO leaders for their own self-interests.
It’s true that there is political instability in the country as a result of the “Sheraton Move” in early 2020 but now is not the time to deal with it. With the economy facing challenges as a result of external geo -political tensions and with the tough anti-inflationary measures being introduced in the West, threatening to throw the world into recession, we in Malaysia must get prepared with our own policies to build up our internal strengths and ensure the country’s resilience against external instabilities.
The government should spend the remaining few months of this Parliament to get the 2023 Budget discussed and debated in detail. MPs should discuss how the government can come up with the right policies to deal with the various factors that are leading to the falling ringgit. This falling in value of our currency, unless wisely dealt with, can bring about serious implications on the economy as well as on the people’s standards of living especially among the B40 households.
At the same time there are pressing issues of policy changes that the people expect from the present Prime Minister, namely, the speedy introduction of reforms to strengthen the institutions of governance, so that we can create the confidence that Malaysia can deal with the issues of loss of integrity, corruption and leakages in the government, as seen in the scandals involving abuses of political power and corruption.
The present Prime Minister must deliver on his promise that he will make reforms a reality by taking immediate measures to get the relevant laws passed by Parliament and to have them translated into executive actions. Such pro-reform actions by Parliament and the Executive will help greatly to inspire confidence on Malaysia being regarded as a progressive country, giving a big boost to local and foreign investments.
G25 is aware that in a parliamentary democracy, elections provide the true test of a government’s legitimacy to rule the country. Therefore, all political parties must prepare themselves for GE15. There should be no delays in implementing the laws on anti - party hopping and on political financing so that when the next elections are held, the people can feel that it is a meaningful exercise of electing a clean and trustworthy government for the country.
The 18-year-olds will be voting for the first time. The youth political movements will have more lead time to prepare their campaigns if the elections are not rushed. UMNO, the largest political party and most well-endowed with funds may be ready any time for elections. But the newer political parties may need time to usher in new faces to contest for Parliament and state assemblies.
In mature democracies, parliament may be dissolved whenever there is a vote of no confidence on the government’s ability to perform. So far, UMNO has not said that the BN-led government is a failure. Therefore, the public is not convinced that there is a clear case for elections to be held ahead of time.
G25 calls upon the Prime Minister to work closely with Parliament in the remaining few months of its present term to strengthen the foundations of our democracy and to raise the standards of governance so that Malaysia can be emancipated from the financial and political scandals.
Date: 22 September 2022