Mahathir and Muhyiddin must portray themselves as the saviours or reformers of UMNO and not as its destroyers. They must explain why reform of UMNO is only possible if Najib’s UMNO is defeated at GE14. They must counter the charge of disloyalty by claiming to be Hang Tuah saving UMNO from Najib’s bad intentions.
The opposition parties disagree on too many things to be able to form a stable government for 5 years. But they all agree on the need to change the government and fight corruption. Therefore, they should be able to form a temporary coalition to fight GE14 on a platform that they will rule for only 1 year to implement a limited, specific and agreed program of institutional reform and repeal of oppressive laws.
The integrity of our national institutions have been undermined because the Malaysian Constitution and other legislation concentrate the power of appointment of officers of our national institutions in the hands of one man, the Prime Minister. We must transfer the power of the PM to appoint to an independent, non-political Commission for Appointment to High Office.
The Speaker of Parliament must be neutral between the ruling party and opposition. To ensure that this is so, Article 57 of the Constitution should be altered to require that the Speaker can only be elected if he receives at least 20% of the votes of the opposite side of the House.
Sedition Act severely limits the ability of individuals to criticise the state, which is crucial to maintaining freedom. Sedition law originated in England in the early 17th century, Originally intention was irrelevant, but in the UK and many countries, the law evolved until today the intention to provoke violence aimed at overthrowing the government by force must be proven before conviction. This resulted in the Sedition Act falling into disuse. In Malaysia intention is still not acceptable as a defence.
As the umbrella body for civil society, Bersih must call a general meeting of its endorsing NGOs to enable civil society to reach a consensus on the Citizens’ Declaration. Civil society leaders who support the Citizens’ Declaration must critically assess what they are supporting. It is untrue for them to claim that the effect of removing Najib is unknown. If UMNO remains in power, it is a certainty that Najib will be replaced by Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
It is doubtful that Dr Mahathir’s strategy behind the Citizens’ Declaration can succeed. The article argues that the most certain way to remove Najib as PM is through a Save Malaysia opposition (Pakatan Harapan + UMNO rebels) fighting Najib’s UMNO/BN one to one at GE14, together with a Citizen’s Manifesto containing detailed, concrete, and specific proposals for institutional reform.
Pakatan Harapan has announced it will no longer “agree to disagree’, believing this prevents clear decisions being made. But without ‘agreeing to disagree’ whose God is the one and only true God, we will not have religious tolerance. In situations where executive action is not required, ‘agreeing to disagree’ keeps nations and political parties united. In situations where executive action is required, ‘agreeing to disagree’ is not an option, and unity may have to be sacrificed.
Rafizi is right in wanting to maintain ties with PAS but wrong in believing that PAS will help Pakatan Harapan win GE14 without wanting a say on government policy. But a limited time, limited program opposition pact is possible, credible and can produce a winning combination of UMNO dissidents, PAS, PKR, DAP, and Amanah.
Expelling PAS from Pakatan Rakyat (PR) will not stop them from pushing for the implementation of hudud in Kelantan. On the other hand, PR risks losing the Selangor state government and any hope of winning GE14. A combined PAS UMNO will regain a two thirds Parliamentary majority, enabling them to re-draw Parliamentary constituencies to the detriment of the opposition. At GE13 the Chinese voted for ABU (anybody but UMNO). Changing horses in midstream now will result in the worst of both worlds.