KLANG, Aug 1 – While there was a bit of hope with the passing of the anti-hopping bill recently, there are still few more changes to be made to ensure a properly functioning democracy that restores the people’s confidence in the country, said Klang Member of Parliament Charles Santiago.
“We saw the democratically elected Pakatan Harapan government being thrown out of power after 22 months (brought on by MPs switching camps), with the political parties that lost the elections successfully forming the current government via the Sheraton Move,” the MP said in a statement here today.
“And at present, a small group of UMNO stalwarts, popularly known as the ‘Court Cluster’ are presurring Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob to call for an early general election.
“Clearly, just like the opportunistic Sheraton Move, the court cluster wants to negotiate itself out of jail sentences and more importantly to take charge of UMNO and government after the next general election.”
Calling for the implementation of further reforms, Charles Santiago said there should be an introduction of fixed-term elections, where the date of the election is predetermined, just like in other countries to stop opportunistic elites from pressuring and holding a government ransom.
For example, in the US, the presidential elections are held on the first Tuesday of November every four years. In the Philippines, every six years on the second Monday of May.
In Australia, the general elections occur every four years on the fourth Saturday in March.
“There is also a need to cap the maximum duration of a Prime Minister to a duration of two terms to ensure no premier gets too comfortable warming the seat. This would also keep a lid on abuse of powers.
“And following the misuse of powers by the former Attorney-General Apandi Ali in exonerating former Prime Minister, Najib Razak, there is a need to ensure the AG doesn’t also hold the position of a Public Prosecutor.”
Pushing for a political funding bill, he said Malaysia’s ranking in the Transparency International’s 2021 Corruption Perception Index had dropped by five points compared with 2020 to the 62nd place out of 180 countries. A political funding bill will prevent corruption, cronyism, and corporate capture by large and powerful entities.
“There must be full transparency on donor details to hold political parties accountable and a cap on foreign donations made to political parties, such as in Singapore and Australia.
“These reforms may look too ambitious but is crucial to bring back the confidence of the people on the democratic practices in the country.
“The Prime Minister has an option to go down in the country’s history as a reformer. But if he remains complacent, Ismail Sabri will lose his chance to make the push for our institutions to work for the people.”