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  • Writer's pictureBait Al-Amanah

A Better Malaysia: Constitutional Monarchy, Parliamentary Democracy, Federalism, and the Rule of Law

Bait Al Amanah recently endorsed a timely statement initiated by Project - Stability and Accountability for Malaysia (Projek SAMA) a latest key initiative to advocate for institutional reforms. The full statement is shown below:

In 2024, let us affirm Constitutional Monarchy, Parliamentary Democracy, Federalism, and the Rule of Law

Year 2024 will witness the continuity of the era of poly-crises, in which the well-being of every Malaysian and the nation as a whole would be much affected by global factors, from geo-political conflicts in Eastern Europe, Middle East and East Asia, global warming, other destructions of nature, to job loss and replacement caused by Artificial Intelligence and other technological advancements.

Before such global challenges, Malaysians must realise that we are not enemies to each other. In fact, we should remember that crises can call out the best in us. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Malaysians helped each other selflessly in the “kita jaga kita” spirit, regardless of ethnicity, religion or political affiliation .

As the Malay proverb goes, ‘to win a shouting match only to lose the village’ (menang sorak kampung tergadai), such victory is pyrrhic. If we fail to prepare ourselves to turn adversities into opportunities, all would be losers. Whoever forms the next Government would inherit a lethargic economy and discontented population.

While we may compete with each other, as individuals or various groupings, our destinies are bound to each other. When pandemics, natural disasters and economic volatility hit us, no single community is safe. We sink or swim together.

This stark reality calls for political reconciliation and democratic stability so that we can stand by each other before the colossal global challenges that we are facing.

We urge all institutions, organisations and individuals that love Malaysia to work together towards the affirmation of the ideals below, which are originally enshrined in the Federal Constitution and espoused by the Rukun Negara:

  1. Constitutional Monarchy: in which all Rulers stay above politics and leave governance to elected leaders, such that the royal institutions would not be tainted by controversies or polemics and can unite all Malaysians or citizens of their respective states across socio-political differences.

  2. Parliamentary Democracy: in which the power of the Executive is unequivocally derived from the confidence of the majority of parliamentarians (who are organised through political parties as aggregators of political aspirations and preferences), and scrutinised, checked and balanced by both Opposition parliamentarians and government backbenchers through select committees, plenary debates and parliamentary questions.

  3. Federalism: in which powers are meaningfully dispersed between the Federal, Regional/State and Local Governments, to ensure the right balance between uniformity and autonomy, equity and competition for the regions and states, and that the local authorities are accountable and responsive to the residents.

  4. The Rule of Law: in which laws are enacted to protect basic human rights and advance the well-being of citizens and residents, not for public authorities to arbitrarily control and silence the population, and effectively applied to all including government leaders, without selective prosecution or impunity, to avoid the cynical notion that “one is innocent until one loses power, and one may regain innocence when one regains power”.

To these ends, we call upon the government and the opposition parties to negotiate a package of political reforms for the remaining term of the 15th Parliament until 18 December 2027, which should include the following:

  • Political Stability: A Fixed Term Parliament Act and a confirmatory vote of confidence for every new Prime Minister after his/her appointment under Article 40(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution;

  • Strengthening of Parliament/State Legislative Assemblies and Political Parties: Parliamentary Services Act, more parliamentary select committees, non-governmental business time, recognition of shadow cabinet/Executive Council, law for equitable Constituency Development Fund (CDF), a Political Financing Act which enables public funding of political parties, and an independent Election Commission answerable to Parliament;

  • The Rule of Law: Separation of the functions of Public Prosecution from the Attorney General Chambers (AGC), enhancing the independence of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the impartiality of the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM);

  • Decentralisation: A “whole of Malaysia” conversation between the Federal Government, the Regional Governments of Sabah and Sarawak, and the 11 State Governments in Peninsular Malaysia, to have a comprehensively and carefully planned decentralisation roadmap, with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) being the main pillar and central guiding document.

  • Instead of waiting for either side to reach out to the others, we call upon both the Government and the Opposition to invite the President of the Senate Tan Sri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar and the Speaker of the House of Representatives Tan Sri Johari Abdul to act as impartial mediators.

Malaysia belongs to all of us. We call upon all Malaysians, including actors in civil society and the private sector, to support this humble new year call for stability and accountability.

For the full statement in English and Bahasa Malaysia, including the endorsing Civil Society Organizations and Individuals, refer to the attachment below:

A Joint 2024 New Year Message
Download PDF • 360KB

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