BEFORE the 14th general election, Malaysians will know which political parties are truly committed to reform and stamping out corruption, and which is merely spouting rhetoric.
A group of human rights, anti-graft bodies and think-tanks will be submitting a memorandum with a raft of demands to all political parties starting this week.
The parties which accept these demands will be named while those which do not will remain conspicuous in their silence, members of the group told The Malaysian Insight.
The demands include promises to make law enforcement independent, root out corruption, ensure freedom of expression and for officials to declare assets if they take over power at either the state or federal level.
The Governance, Integrity, Accountability and Transparency (GIAT) coalition consists of six civil society groups.
They are the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4), Sinar Project, Transparency International-Malaysia, Friends of Kota Damansara, MyPJ and Society for the Protection of Human Rights (Proham).
According to C4 executive director Cynthia Gabriel, the group wants to meet all political parties whether they are from Barisan Nasional, Pakatan Harapan or Gagasan Sejahtera Rakyat.
“We are going to all political parties beginning tomorrow (today) with Bersatu,” she told The Malaysian Insight.
The group will meet Bersatu representatives Dr Rais Hussin and Wan Saiful Wan Jan to hand over the memorandum. Besatu is part of the four-party PH coalition.
Proham’s Ivy Josiah said an invitation was sent out to all political parties, including BN and PAS, but Bersatu is the first to respond.
“We are trying to get the political parties to see if they are committed to institutional reform.
“We don’t have the power to force political parties but we will name the parties that agreed with us and do not agree with us,” she told The Malaysian Insight.
Gabriel said they also hoped to meet component members of the BN ruling coalition, such as Umno.
“Umno’s style of governance has not inspired us Malaysians. We are hoping that Umno would be the one to respond next,” she said.
GIAT will give all political parties in Malaysia two weeks to respond to the memorandum before holding a press conference on the matter.
Aira Azira of IDEAS said GIAT’s intention is to hold politicians accountable for their actions.
“We will also publicise it when a certain party comes and meet us, and this will hopefully encourage others as well.”
The five points that GIAT hopes parties commit to before the GE14 are:
1) Endorse legislation that will affirm the independence of institutions, more importantly the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
2) Enact a national freedom of information law, review the Official Secrets Act 1972 and adopt open data principles.
3) Require by law that all cabinet members, members of parliament, elected officials and senior public officials to declare their assets.
4) Improve participatory democracy within all levels of government, including budgeting processes and holding local council elections.
5) Require by law that all political parties declare all forms of income and expenditure. – March 5, 2018.