Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Najib: MP's attendance no important... BN's, not peoples' representation... Attend Parliament only when needed by who...BN? Live telecasts please...

We elect peoples' representatives to represent us in Parliament, i.e. as Members of Parliament.

Members of Parliament is supposed to represent the people of their constituencies, and that is the reason why they should be present at ALL parliamentary proceedings - and not just present but also participating for and on behalf of the constituencies that they represent (and for the people of Malaysia generally). They should be raising concerns and opinions of their constituency, and reporting back matters of interest to the constituency (and the people of Malaysia generally) back to their people.

Even when an MP or an ADUN for some very good reason is not able to attend Parliament (or a State Assembly sitting), there should at the very least be a 'personal assistant' or political assistant attending the sessions, who can report back to the MP/ADUN what is happening...

MPs do not represent the parties/coalitions that they come from - and that is why it is absurd for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to make comments (as reported), which give the indication that MPs are there primarily for the BN [not the people]

A comprehensive system will be created to ensure that there will be enough Barisan Nasional MPs attending Parliament sittings at all times, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said. - BN MP for Rompin represents the people of Rompin, in Parliament. The MP for Temerloh represents people of Temerloh in Parliament. So, if your MP is absent, then the constituents/people of that constituency is not represented. They are more importantly the peoples' representative (wakil rakyat) not the BN's representative. But Najib's comments seem to only be concerned about the BN's representation (or presence) in Parliament. [After all, it would be consistent with him making sitting MPs into Ambassadors who sit most of the time in Embassies in far away country...]

What is the role of BN MPs? 

According to Najib, it is simple - “We need a comprehensive system so MPs will know when they need to be in Parliament,” he told reporters at the Kuching International Airport yesterday.

All he seems to be concerned about is that they be present when they are needed - and this for him would most likely be when there is a vote to be taken on some Bill or a 'no confidence motion'. Maybe also during events when there is 'TV coverage'...mmm. Reporters should really catch MPs outside the Dewan and ask them why they voted for this and that... and I am pretty sure that many of these MPs may not even really know what they voted for and why save for 'they had no choice but had to vote that way since they belonged to that party...' Sad, is it not.

Live coverage of Parliamentary proceedings would expose the absence and incompetence of some of these MPs, and will certainly improve the quality and participation of MPs as no one wants to be seen as 'stupid' or as a bad MP. There is already live feeds of Parliamentary proceedings that people can watch at the lobby, kantin, etc..and all that the government need to do is to put this on TV. We need a dedicated channel which will be proceedings of Parliament. There is no need for any 'producers' or 'directors' or 'interviews' - just let the people see all that is really happening in Parliament. If there are to be interviews and commentaries, then this should all be happening after the live feed or on a different channel - thus ensuring no disruption to the live transmission...

Remember the MPs represent the people of their constituency - and the stress should be that they are always represented in the Dewan Rakyat. If people are too busy or not bothered, then they do not deserve to be MPs...

But for Najib, attendance is not important  - "...Later in Kota Kinabalu, Najib was asked whether Parliament attendence should be made a key performance indicator for MPs...“There is no need for it because it will be up to me when it comes to selecting candidates (for elections). I know what to do,” he said.."

A comprehensive system will be created to ensure that there will be enough Barisan Nasional MPs attending Parliament sittings at all times, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said.
He said he would discuss the matter with Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.

“We need a comprehensive system so MPs will know when they need to be in Parliament,” he told reporters at the Kuching International Airport yesterday.

Najib had earlier opened the Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) general assembly and then flown to Kota Kinabalu to attend the national-level Christmas open house.

Najib was commenting on the recent passing of Budget 2010 in the Dewan Rakyat where the Barisan Nasional managed to get the bill through by a slim majority of just three votes.

Asked whether any action would be taken against absent MPs, Najib said the MPs themselves should know that they should attend Parliament.

“The problem is that the Opposition are trying to catch us out. MPs know what action they need to take and that is to be present,” he said.

In his speech when opening the SPDP general assembly earlier, Najib underscored the importance of MPs attending Parliament by half-jokingly saying: “If you don’t attend, watch out.”

Later in Kota Kinabalu, Najib was asked whether Parliament attendence should be made a key performance indicator for MPs.

“There is no need for it because it will be up to me when it comes to selecting candidates (for elections). I know what to do,” he said.

Najib also stressed on the importance that the Barisan Government must deliver the promises made and fulfill the rakyat’s expectations to ensure that it continued to win elections.- Star, 30/12/2009, PM underscores importance of Barisan MPs being present at Parliament

Is this discrimination, bribery or what? Malaysia's money should be for all persons in Malaysia irrespective of who they vote for...

It is the Malaysian peoples' money, and if 'grants' are to be given to Members of Parliaments and/or State Assembly persons (ADUNs), it should be given to all of them irrespective of what party they belong to.

Further, there must be a formula based on the number of constituents that they have.

But alas, the Barisan Nasional have only been giving their own MPs and/or ADUNs these grants - and no body really knows how these monies have been spent (or at least I and a lot of other Malaysians do not know...)

Now, it seems that NOT all BN MPs/ADUNs were getting these 'grants' or the same amount of these grants..

Maybe, it is time for the BN to come clean and reveal how much monies were given to each and every BN MP and/or ADUN - and how exactly these monies were spent in these constituencies....

If there is no accountability, how will be sure that monies were not pocketed for self, or given to friends and family through direct or indirect means...

Anyway, why do MPs and/or ADUNs need these special grants. Should not money to the people and for development just be channeled directly by the relevant Ministries and/or departments?

The Federal Government will provide matching grant to Sarawak’s Barisan Nasional MPs and assemblymen on whatever financial aid they receive from the state government next year.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak gave the promise when he opened the Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) general assembly at the Civic Centre here yesterday.

He was responding to SPDP president Datuk William Mawan’s call to the coalition to help resolve the lack of resources faced by most Sarawak MPs and assemblymen as it had adversely affected their effectiveness in serving their constituents.

Mawan, also state Social Development and Urbanisation Minister, said in his presidential speech earlier that due to the constraint of resources, the elected representatives’ performance might fall below par and reflect poorly on the Barisan government.

“If lack of resources remains a problem and affects their performances, the elected representatives may be lured by temptations as abuse of power and corrupt practices to short track their course.

“If they do succumb, they will be at the mercy of some unscrupulous powers,’’ added Mawan.

He urged the Barisan supreme council to resolve the problem and work out “some kind of arrangements’’ to help the Sarawak elected representatives assemblymen to better serve their constituents.

Mawan said the huge allocations Sarawak received under the Ninth Malaysia Plan and the recent stimulus package was proof of the Federal Government’s commitment to develop the state and improve the livelihood of its people.

Najib urged elected representatives to go to the ground to service the people.

He said the Sarawak Barisan should resolve issues related to native customary (NCR) land, extension of land leases and land renewal premiums.

The Federal Government, he said, would work in partnership with the Sarawak government in the development of industries, like aluminium smelter as well as paper and pulp, in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE).
The Prime Minister said the federal government planned to build 1,500km of roads in Sabah and Sarawak by 2012, deliver 90% of rural electricity and water supplies and build more schools in both states.

Promising to visit Sarawak more regularly next year, Najib has plans to tour the former Rejang Security Command (Rascom) area in Sibu.- Star, 29/12/2009, Federal govt to provide grant to Sarawak reps

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Do Malaysians now need a 3rd option for the next General Elections?

As we come to the end of 2009, it is time for us to do some evaluations and to make resolutions for the coming year.

Barisan Nasional -vs- Pakatan Rakyat ?

Local Council Elections - still do not have it in the Pakatan Rakyat States

Kampung/Kampung Baru/Taman/Kampung Orang Asli elections where the people determine their leaders rather than have the State appoint leaders - Only Perak under Pakatan Rakyat started this, but nothing happened in any of the other Pakatan Rakyat states (or did it)

Freedom of Information - Well, it seems that State government (and Local Councils) have more 'secrets', and their websites are far less transparent(and less informative) than the Malaysian Parliment websites. No minutes of State Assembly (and Local Council) meetings, Save for names of laws, regulations, rulings - even the full text of these state laws (local council laws) are missing. Now, apparently the Penang government said that they have received legal advice that they cannot have a State Freedom of Information Act - can you believe this? Enact the Freedom of Information Act and practice transparency and accountability in at least the PR governed States...

Third Force - Maybe we may really have to look at this option. We still have the Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) as an option...or we can also elect good independents. There may be other political parties too that we could consider. Maybe, Malaysiakini could highlight some of these options...

We all would like to end the BN rule of Malaysia for over 52 years,  and this has been the driving force that brought about BN's loss of  its 2/3rd majority in Parliament, and its loss of 5 (now 4) States. The opposition coalition of PAS-DAP-PKR (working with some civil society partners) reaped the fruits of the anti-BN sentiments that existed in March 2008, but sadly the opposition coalition have not really proved that they are truly different from the BN...and time is running the next GE will soon be here...

Many civil  society groups have also been rather slow to criticize Pakatan Rakyat.... Why? Because some still perceive themselves as being a part of this 'Pakatan Rakyat'. Some have been 'compromised' when they accepted appointments as local councillors, etc.. It is time that civil society groups  free themselves from the 'shackles' that has tainted  their independence, etc...  

A Malaysiakini article for your attention:-

"Politicians were mice (politikus)

and the rakyat were bosses

once upon a time -

And now it's back to same old same old...

That's twice upon a time!"

Events since the Malaysian peoples' tsunami on March 8, 2008 have led to a sense of frustration over the performance of Malaysian politicians on both sides of the political divide. All over cyberspace, agitated Malaysian bloggers are questioning the differentia specifica of BN Cola and PR Cola and pondering the necessity for a third force in local politics.

It is tragic yet inevitable that Malaysian politics should so quickly deteriorate into the political circus we see in the west where the voters are given the choice of Democrats or Republicans, Labour or Conservative. As the song goes,

"Laugh about it, shout about it,

When it's time to choose -

Anyway you look at it you lose!"

bagan pinang by election 061009 bn billboard 06Soon after the political tsunami, I wrote about some of the inconsistencies of Malaysian politicians during those days of hope. Since then we have seen Pakatan Rakyat frogs jumping into the BN and turning into moronic oxen. Another latter day Malaysian oxymoron makes out that May 13 was "naturally orchestrated"! Where do you get these guys!

The latest travesty of the people's trust was seen when twenty Pakatan members of parliament were missing in action when they could have voted out the BN's Budget Bill and won a vote of no confidence against the BN government.

BN now has two KPI ministers! The idea of a minister in charge of KPI is totally laughable since the CEO or head of any organisation is supposed to overlook the KPIs of his or her officers in the first place. Pray, tell me which cabinet in the world has got a KPI minister?

And who's watching the KPI in Pakatan Rakyat? That's what concerns us more since we created the political tsunami that brought them in the first place.

The lost roadmap

"To bring back elected local councils" was an important plank in the Pakatan election manifesto and a popular demand of the Malaysian electorate in many elections including the 2008 general election.

A conference on the Roadmap to Local Government Elections was held on July 26, 2008 to expedite local government elections through institutional reform towards a democratic system of locally elected representatives.

Participants at the one-day conference adopted the following resolutions:
  • the restoration of local elections constitutes an important step forward in reviving democracy, improving the standard of governance and checking the scourge of corruption, excesses and mismanagement presently plaguing the urban population in Malaysia;
  • the restoration of local elections lies clearly within the jurisdiction of the state government, as provided for by the Article 113(4) and Item 4, List II, Schedule 9 in the Federal Constitution. State governments, especially the Pakatan Rakyat ones which have made election promises on reviving local elections, should take immediate steps to formulate state laws to such effect;
  • the federal government should, at the same time, initiate consultations with the general public and hold negotiations with the state governments to formulate a comprehensive plan to have local elections that are clean, free, fair and representative.
We'll soon be into 2010 and there is still no sign of this roadmap to local democracy in either Selangor, Penang, Kedah or Kelantan.

We now hear there are component parties in the Pakatan which are against elected local government. Could the culprits please come clean without us having to rely on a Freedom of Information Act?

Whither the Freedom of Information Act?

The reforms we had hoped for are being dragged by politicians' ponderous feet through the mud of excuses.

The Penang Chief Minister tells us they cannot introduce a Freedom of Information Act in the state since their legal officer has advised against it, saying it is ultra vires the Federal Constitution.

Now we know election manifestoes and convention declarations are easier said than done.

But since when did the buck stop at a nameless state legal officer? Are not election manifestoes and convention declarations scrutinized by the leaders in the parties before they are heralded?

30 percent women representation?

The recent Pakatan convention has called for thirty percent women representation in parliament.

NONEIs this credible when the PKR's woman president had to resign recently from her parliamentary seat in order to force a by-election for another man to take over her seat?

Why couldn't one of the male chief ministers in Pakatan resign instead so that Anwar could get back into politics?

What makes these male chief ministers think they are so indispensable they have to be in the federal parliament as well?

Couldn't they let a woman politician or some other budding leaders have the opportunity to take part at the federal-level politics instead? It reflects the feudal male grabby instinct so prevalent in Malaysian political parties that needs to be reformed.

And when are the component parties in Pakatan going to implement the rudimentary democratic practice of fixing the term of office of their leaders as is done in other democratic countries and even the MCA?

Come on, Pakatan parties must surely be more progressive than the MCA.

A third force is the answer

Malaysians who have lived under BN authoritarianism for more than fifty years will no doubt rejoice over the peoples' victory in cutting them down to size. At last! We now have a two-front system.

This two-front system is a transitional necessity that civil rights activists had advocated way back in 1986 and almost achieved in 1990 when they entered the political arena.

bagan pinang voting started 10102009Those who are familiar with the west will also know that the British and the US people have been going through a political circus rotating Democrat/Republican or Labour/Conservative governments for donkeys' years.

Thus, the Labour Party under Tony Blair implemented the Conservative Party Margaret Thatcher's economic and social policies and even supported the Iraq war alongside George Bush.

The Democrat Obama has sent more troops into Afghanistan than Republican Bush ever did while unemployment in the US also surges. Wherein lays the difference?

Do Malaysians have to go through the next fifty years of this kind of political circus, with BN Cola and PR Cola giving us renditions of the same neoliberal policies?

The euphoria after the 2008 political tsunami is quickly giving way to a realisation that the peoples' agenda can only be won through a third force - an activist movement that continually makes demands outside Parliament in order that the peoples' interests will be served.

Besides political consistency, this third force must champion economic and social policies that benefit the people rather than suck up to big business; policies through which working people can become masters of their fate and not just tools of production; a democratic social order in which workers have a say and control over production and their livelihood.

It is now widely accepted that it was the financial liberalization that led to cross-border speculative capital outflows which have caused the recent international financial crisis.

In the west, this financial crisis has resulted in the nationalisation of the big banks and financial institutions, an act which has once and for all exploded the myth that financial institutions need to be privately owned and free of regulation.

Likewise, it is a neoliberal myth that all land and industries need to be under private control.

Go for it!

Thus, this third force cannot accept the economic policies that perpetuate the sale of national industrial and public resources. It was the repressive rule under Mahathir that cleared the way for the neo-liberal policies that privatised state functions during the Eighties.

the antidote article sarawak native people 270509 01This third force must reclaim our public domain; nationalise the major means of production under democratic control of the people; universalise citizens' rights; enlarge our democratic space and support the resistance to neoliberalism by our indigenous peoples, workers and other marginalised groups.

Only through democratic planning and control over the allocation of social surplus will we be able to meet the basic needs of all sectors of society and a better standard of living for the 60-70 per cent of the population.

Only then will this third force have a zest that is different from BN Cola or PR Cola. Go for it! - Malaysiakini, 24/12/2009, A third force in Malaysian politics?

PAS, the 'latest excuse' for Pakatan not having local council elections ...

Is PAS really against local council elections? Is PAS really the reason for Pakatan Rakyat's failure to hold local council elections? I do not think so...

I remember that it was a PAS Menteri Besar in Perak that upheld in part pre-election promises when he caused kampungs in Perak to elect their own leaders. 1 Kampung Baru also elected their own leaders, and the ADUN who did that was from PKR (a former SUARAM coordinator). What I heard was that it was DAP that was against local elections of kampung baru leaders...PKR also was not at all keen about allowing the people to elect their own kampung/kampung baru/kampung orang asli/taman leaders.

Let us look at Selangor - at the Local Council level, the Local Councillors have got these "MPP" (Majlis Perwakilan Penduduk- Peoples Representative Councils), which are appointed. There was also no elections of these so called 'peoples' representatives'.

DAP led Penang government also did not take steps towards greater democracy at all levels...

But, now they seem to be pointing fingers at PAS - and naming the PAS as the 'stumbling block', i.e. the reason for not yet having local council elections. I believe that it was all of them, i.e. DAP, PKR and PAS that were not interested in fulfiling their pre-election promise to bring back local council elections...

Why are they really not interested in restoring Local Council Elections?
- Fear that the people will elect persons not pro their political parties
- The Local Councils have a lot of money and power > and best to hold on to that wealth and power..

But, I say give the people the power.... let the people choose their own leaders at all levels including the Local Councils...

Trust in the people - they know what to do for the common good of all people in Malaysia at all levels...

Will Pakatan Rakyat’s failure to introduce local council elections as promised during the 2008 general election be the start of it becoming distanced from those who brought it into power? 

THE Pakatan Rakyat has made some of its most ardent supporters mad by reneging on its promises to hold elections for local councils.

Many are upset that the coalition has failed to carry out the promise, first made in the 2008 general election manifesto, in the five states it won, especially when these states are developed, populous and ripe for local democracy.

Pakatan supporters and many others are also peeved that the promise to hold local council election or restore the third vote as the political devotees say, was watered down in the coalition’s recently launched document titled Common Policy Platform.

The document, a masterpiece in compromises, seeks to give the three dissimilar political parties that make up the Pakatan coalition a common platform to stand on.

But the long-standing opposition promise to return local councils to ratepayers which goes back to several decades has been watered down to strengthening “local government democracy”, whatever that means.

The Pakatan has come under a torrent of criticism from a variety of people including human rights activists, lawyers and political analysts for watering down on the promise but also for its failure to hold local council elections in the states they had captured from the Barisan Nasional in the 2008 general election.

Ironically, the Pakatan letdown is keenly felt among top leaders of the DAP who had fought long and hard for the return of the third vote.

Local council election are called the third vote after the first for Parliament, and the second for States assemblies.

“We will face a backlash, we will be punished (by the people) because we had been in the forefront championing for the third vote for many years,” said Ipoh Barat MP and DAP national vice-chairman M. Kulasegaran.

He said he was “personally and deeply disappointed” with the “compromises” in the Pakatan that had led to a watered down position on local council elections.

“We debated the issue long and hard but local council elections is the one in which we (DAP) had to take a step back,” he said.

Kulasegaran declined to go into the details why Pakatan partners, especially PAS and some key PKR leaders, were opposed to local council elections.

However, he said legal complications arising out of holding local council elections were also considered.

Legal experts still argue over whether the Pakatan states can hold local elections or not.

One group says local election is possible and legally allowed. Another however says the law does not permit states to hold local elections.

The debate still rages on but no Pakatan member party is willing to test the issue either by going 
to court for a declaration or going ahead and conducting a local election.

The closest thing to such elections were by the former Pakatan government in Perak which boldly held elections for village heads.

Local elections were widely held in the 1960s and were mostly won by the opposition.

However, state governments were won by the Alliance/Barisan Nasional coalition — a situation that provided for an admirable check and balance and maximum returns for the ratepayer.

But such elections were suspended in 1964, ostensibly because of the Malaysia-Indonesia confrontation.

The suspension was never lifted and made permanent with the passing of the Local Government Act 1976 and related state laws which all allowed for local councillors to be appointed and not elected.

Although a Royal Commission headed by Datuk Athi Nahappan later recommended in 1968 the return of local elections, this recommendation was not taken up.

The opposition to local elections in the Pakatan is coming from PAS and sections of PKR who variously argue, within Pakatan, that the time was not ripe for local democracy.

For the DAP however, the return of local elections has always been a fundamental pillar of its political programme.

The opposition from PAS and others must have been severe for the DAP to step back on this key issue.

The largely urban supporters of the DAP have long suffered under appointed councillors and civil servants over whom ratepayers have no say.

Officials have often been accused of overspending, mismanagement, corruption and even riding roughshod over the ratepayers.

The DAP had championed the ratepayer’s cause, arguing that appointed councillors and civil servants need a master to oversee them to be effective.

The way is to elect councillors and not appoint them, they argued, well aware that if local elections were held, they stood to win handsomely and rightly so as champions of the urban voters.

Probably the fear of losing and the negative impact of such losses on the party and supporters were the reasons why PAS was so adamantly opposed to local elections.

Not only did they oppose local elections, they also did not introduce such elections in the states of Kelantan and Terengganu which they ruled.

DAP leaders are trying to appease their supporters, saying the party will work hard to convince PAS and PKR leaders on the importance of having local democracy.

“We hope to win them over … eventually,” said Kulasegaran, who had vowed to introduce local elections in Ipoh and had hoped to emulate the D.R. and S.P. Seeneevasagam, the brothers who made a name for themselves with their impressive administration of the Ipoh Municipality in the 1960s.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that as a coalition the Pakatan, individually and collectively, has to live with its failure to deliver on local elections, a fundamental plank of its platform. - Star, 28/12/2009, Coming unstuck over council polls

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pakatan promises again but not much changes seen in 4 states they have governed since March 2008

What happened to local council elections? Elections at the kampung, kampung baru, taman, kampung orang asli...?

Now, in December 2009, they are setting up committee to study 'local democracy' .... when local council elections were pre-March 2008 promises?

Pakatan governs 4 States (since March 2008)...and we have to look at the changes that they have done here. Is there greater transparency, accountability & democracy?

Minutes of State Legislative Assemblies, Local Councils, State Exco still not availbale on the websites...

What State Enactments and other legislation have been repealed, amended or introduced to bring about changes?

And, now they again make promises - but fail to set time frames, or provide specifics. Maybe 5 years (or 10 years) after they are in power, they will start setting up committees to start implementing promises...

Local Council Elections - that will be the indicator....Remember the very long deadline set by civil society groups was before 2010....and there is no indication that they will have local council elections any time soon...

Former law minister Zaid Ibrahim has been hard at work over the past few months to forge the following joint Pakatan platform. The 33-page document is divided into three broad categories - democracy, economy and social justice.

Pakatan Rakyat hereby put forward a policy agenda to lead the people and this nation out of the current worsening crisis.

The people's development agenda has been derailed due to a narrow understanding of race, divisive hate politics and authoritarianism.
pakatan convention 191209 policy paperThe recessive economy caused by the loss of moral conscience, the greed of corruption and archaic policies are causing Malaysia to be left behind compared to other vibrant economies in the region.

The unjust economy is all the more apparent in the widening gap between the rich and the poor, between the urban and the rural population, and between the Peninsular and Sabah and Sarawak.

The rising crime rate threatens lives and property because the police force has been used for narrow political ends.
The integrity and independence of the judiciary continues to be damaged by political interference and business interests.

After half a century of sovereign independence, Malaysia should have matured.
This should have been realised when the people from various races, breaking down narrow and obsolete mindset, and manifest a new spirit to reject the perversion of power, the spread of corruption, the plunder of the nation's wealth and the repression of the people's rights.

In appreciating the people's aspirations, Pakatan therefore declares our commitment to fully internalise and carry out an agenda of new politics by mobilising the people's power from the various races, religions and cultures as one force.

Further, we have confidence; we can change our policy framework from narrow racial approach to principles based on religious faiths, humanism, ethical and human rights, and equality before the law regardless of status, race or group.

The policies that are derived from adherence to the Constitution and universal principles of justice will safeguard the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, which in turn will guarantee that the human rights and dignity of the people will continuously be defended and upheld.

Pakatan is confident that the Malaysian economy can be driven at a faster pace through a market-based economy that is humane, leading towards a more holistic human development.
Economic policies should make Malaysia competitive, maintain a healthy investment climate, implement progressive taxation, but firm in its desire to realise justice through the equitable economic distribution especially for the poor and marginalised.

Pakatan rejects policies that allow for corruption and other financial crimes and abuse of power.
In order to ensure sustainable growth, oppressive policies that had only enriched the few should be replaced with a policy that ensures that the poor are assisted regardless of race.

As such, we invite the Malaysian people to create a new consensus that is founded on principles of justice for all and Constitutionalism.
This is the agenda that must be done if we are to regain the nation's respect, freedom and dignity. Only by providing justice for all can the people live prosperously and in unity.


A. Constitutionalism and the rule of law

The federal constitution is the manifestation of the aspirations and hopes of the independent Malaysian people.
Within it, the fundamental rights of every citizen including rights to religion, language, citizenship and culture are fully guaranteed.
Therefore, Pakatan commits to uphold the spirit and provisions of the federal constitution.

Pakatan will:

1. Defend the federal constitution, Islam as the religion of the federation while other religions can be practiced peacefully anywhere in the country and protecting the special position of the Malays and the indigenous peoples anywhere including Sabah and Sarawak, and the legitimate interests of other races in accordance with Article 153.

2. Defend the role and responsibility of the institution of constitutional mnarchy.

3. Uphold the use of Bahasa Melayu in accordance with Article 152 of the Constitution and promote Bahasa Melayu as the regional lingua franca, while protecting and strengthening the use of mother tongue languages for all races.

4. Abolish the Internal Security Act and other laws that allow for detention without trial while simultaneously propose that all existing emergency declarations be rescinded.

5. Abolish or amend all other oppressive laws and regulations that are repressive and contravene fundamental rights.

6. Guarantee the spirit of federalism and a just relationship between the federation and the states, especially Sabah and Sarawak.

B. Separation of powers

The effectiveness of the democratic system is dependent on the proper implementation of separation of powers.
The integrity of a government is dependent on the independence, credibility and legitimacy of its institutions that have been entrusted with the responsibility to ensure checks and balances among the branches of the executive, judicial and legislative.

Pakatan will:

1. Restore the integrity of the judicial system and guarantee transparency and full independence of the Judicial Appointment Commission.

2. Restructure the workings in Parliament to make it more transparent, democratic and able to perform its role to check and balance.

3. Guarantee the direct accountability to Parliament of bodies such as the Election Commission, Anti-Corruption Commission, Human Rights Commission, Petronas, Khazanah and others.

4. Ensure that the appointment of positions such as the inspector-general of police, the attorney-general, the anti-corruption commissioner and the auditor-general require the approval of Parliament.

5. Create a National Ombudsman Department.

6. Strengthen local government democracy and democratically enhance the competency and effectiveness of the delivery system and guarantee transparency at all levels.

7. Free all media, amend the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, enact a Freedom of Information Act and ensure Internet freedom.

8. Enhance the performance of public service sector and ensure the welfare of its members. Ensure that the institution remains independent and able to perform its responsibilities competently.

9. Empower and enhance civil society. Increase the participation of people through dialogues and consultations.

C. A clean, free and fair electoral system

The tarnished electoral system must be restored its integrity.The sovereign power of the people to choose the country's leadership must be defended from any defects that allows for manipulation.
Therefore it is important for us to review all the relevant electoral laws.

Pakatan will:

1. Enable all citizens age 18 and above to vote via automatic registration.

2. Eliminate all weaknesses in the electoral system by cleaning the electoral roll; abolish postal votes for voters within the country, ensure all citizens outside the country can vote; and introduce the use of indelible ink.

3. Ensure the media provides political parties fair and just space, reasonable campaign period and a clean and free election process.

4. Re-delineate constituencies to mirror the principle of one citizen, one vote in order to guarantee a more fair and just representation.

5. Grant political parties campaign expenditures based on the percentages of votes in general elections.

6. Enact more effective laws to punish candidates or political parties that are involved in corruption or vote-buying practices.


Pakatan is determined to create a national economy with high performance and sustainable growth.
To ensure national competitiveness, it is critical that effective distribution of national resources and wealth in key and strategic fields or sectors of the economy is ensured.

Stimulating local investment and generating strong domestic demand as well as attracting continuous foreign direct investments will foster an economy that is progressive and resilient.

Pakatan is committed to creating a 'People's Economy' to ensure that the prosperity and wealth generated will be reaped by people of all classes whilst reducing the gap between rich and poor, as well as overcoming the disparity of development between regions, as a consequence of mismanagement that failed to prioritise the interests of the majority.

A. High-performance economy

The basis of a high-performance economy is a workforce that is knowledge-based, competent and highly-skilled.
Pakatan will provide all necessary investment to produce a high-productivity workforce in order to boost high-added value in national economic activities.

Pakatan will:

1. Guarantee that opportunities of higher education and training based on competency are provided in all service, manufacturing and agricultural sectors.

2. Ensure that every worker who wants to improve his or her skills is given an opportunity to obtain continuous training to enhance productivity.

3. Encourage citizens who are professionals and skilled living overseas to return home by creating a professional and attractive working environment.

B. Democratic and transparent economy

Pakatan is committed to implement policies to ensure that the management of the economy is free from corruption, abuse of power and cronyism in order to enhance accountability, transparency and good governance.

Corrupt practices and abuse of power has dissipated national wealth and prevented sustainable economic growth and weakened national competitiveness.

Pakatan will:

1. Reform the tender system so that it becomes open, fair, transparent, and gives the best value for the people's money.

2. Reject privatisation which burdens the people. Re-negotiate unfair concessions and contracts that profited cronies, including IPPs, highway tolls and water infrastructure.

3. Implement a progressive taxation system and reject any taxes that burden the people. This includes putting a stop to the proposed Goods and Services Tax (GST) until the people and the country are ready for it.

C. Decentralisation and the empowerment of state economic management

In keeping with the spirit of federalism to improve the government's delivery system, effectiveness and efficient expenditure, the implementation of extensive development and economic policies will be needed to be devolved to the state governments according to respective priorities.

Decentralisation can motivate structural change in the economic framework to boost efficiency and productivity due to greater effectiveness in expenditure, besides higher multiplier effects for government expenditure in the national economy.

Pakatan will:

1. Implement grants for development and equalisation based on a formula of total population, poverty rate, development area, cost, human development and gross revenue per capita indices that will ensure that the poorer states are not left behind.

2. Redistribute economic and administrative power and the implementation of infrastructure works to the state governments, for example an equitable negotiation rights in ascertaining public transportation design and network.

3. Generate a more balanced geographical development, thereby creating productive secondary cities nationwide in order to reduce development centralisation in the Klang Valley.

4. Prioritising policies that generate high and long-term growth, based on an economic understanding where the state governments are in a better position to determine and implement socio-economic strategies.

D. Affirmative action policies based on need

Pakatan recognises that all Malaysians are entitled to assistance based on need regardless of background.
Pakatan is determined to make the national economy people-centred, so that the national wealth can be enjoyed equitably by all.

Pakatan will:

1. Ensure equitable economic assistance and distribution to all based on need.

2. Assist marginalised groups from all races.

3. Provide cash assistance directly to target groups to end hardcore poverty.

4. Provide education scholarships based on need and merit.

5. Ensure social mobility by guaranteeing more equitable and equal economic opportunity for all.

6. Use the savings from leakages and wastage and the fight against corruption as additional resources for programmes to eradicate poverty.

E. Labour

Labour is the foundation to the continuous prosperity of the nation. Pakatan will guarantee that all Malaysian workers will be treated justly and further ensure their welfare and prosperity be preserved.

Pakatan will:

1. Introduce minimum wage for all Malaysian workers.

2. Defend workers' rights to form trade unions according to their needs and choice; and ensure that they are given the same rights and protection in accordance with international standards.

3. Introduce an Equal Opportunity Act to ensure that work opportunities are open to all.

4. Support entrepreneurs and businessmen of Small and Medium Enterprises by providing access to loans, adequate infrastructure and further reduce bureaucracy.

5. Facilitate assistance to fishermen and farmers to drive increased productivity.

6. Re-structure an integrated foreign workers policy and reduce national dependence on foreign labour.

7. Provide support system to groups involved in the informal economic sector such as small businesses, hawkers, farmers and those who are self employed.

F. Social safety net

All Malaysians are entitled to enjoy life with dignity at all times. Those who have lost their income, the elderly, the disabled and low-income groups must be protected and also given the opportunity to enjoy the economic benefits of development.

Pakatan will:

1. Strengthen the Employees' Provident Fund system and introduce a pension scheme for private sector employees.

2. Set up a National Retrenchment Fund to provide temporary financial support to those who have lost their jobs, subsidy for on-the-job training and retraining of workers

3. Extend the retirement age to 60 years in order to provide opportunities to those who wish to continue contributing to society.

G. Housing

Housing is a basic human need. In reality, a large number of Malaysians could not, without assistance, afford their own housing especially those from the lower and middle income.

Therefore Pakatan will:

1. Set up a Perbadanan Perumahan with the mandate to increase the number of affordable housing and achieving the goal of One Family, One House.

2. Overcome the problems concerning 'squatters/urban settlers' as far as possible through in situ housing development and/or land sharing and through low interest loans to assist the squatters/urban settlers to purchase their own houses.

3. Coordinate a negotiation system for' squatters/urban settlers', developers and the authorities to achieve a win-win solution for matters concerning housing and land;

4. Provide assistance to upgrade low-cost houses and Projek Perumahan Rakyat in order to meet the increased number of household occupants;

5. Invest in public amenities in the apartment surroundings to ensure a balanced and healthy environment.

6. Encourage transparency and competition in the financial sector in order to make housing loans more accessible and affordable.

7. Cooperate with state governments to safeguard housing policy and ensure that affordable housing is provided for those in need.

H. Infrastructure and public facilities

Providing and maintaining good public infrastructure is the government's responsibility.
The implementation should not burden the people or merely profit certain cronies.
Good public infrastructure and facilities can increase the people's disposable income and their productivity.

Pakatan will:

1. Guarantee clean water and electricity at reasonable rates to every family in Malaysia.

2. Review and re-negotiate all highway toll agreements and study the possibility of purchasing back the Plus highway with the objective to eliminate tolls in seven years.

3. Improve the efficiency of the public transport system through the establishment of the Commission of Public Transport comprising government and community representatives.

4. Introduce a half-fare scheme for elderly citizens, the disabled, students and retirees for all types of public transport.

5. Re-assess the granting of taxi permits to large companies and prioritise individual entrepreneurs and their associations.

6. Provide efficient broadband Internet service for free in order to reduce the digital divide.

I. Environment

Our environment is a national treasure that must be preserved for the sustainability of the future generations. Facing crisis of climate change, Pakatan resolves to:

1. Entrench the practice of recycling as part of our culture by providing the necessary infrastructure and a comprehensive system.

2. Ensure all logging activities and deforestation are carried out in a controlled and sustainable manner.

3. Build the foundation and technological expertise to enable a smooth transition to the use of alternative energy resources.

4. Restrict the development at hill slopes and hazardous areas.

5. Reduce carbon emission rate to conform with international standards and increase the ability of the ecological system to absorb carbon.

J. Sustainable growth and green development

Pakatan is determined to make the green economy as the core of a new era of equitable and sustainable prosperity for Malaysia.
The provision of infrastructure and development of new industries in line with the transition to a green economy will become an engine for dynamic economic growth.

Pakatan will:

1. Introduce modern, comprehensive and appropriate infrastructure for a low carbon economy, including a world-class, integrated public transport system and a comprehensive recycling programme.

2. Develop industries based on green technology such as manufacturing solar panels and hydrogen cell fuels.

3. Lead the development of alternative energy systems and renewable energy in the Asian region.

4. Strengthen the agriculture sector with the latest methods and technology to ensure that the national food supply is secured.


A. Unity and social justice

Pakatan resolves to foster understanding and unity among the people based on the principle of preserving our common interests.
National unity must reflect a genuine solidarity, understanding and togetherness among the races, cultures and religions.
Pakatan promises to rebuild a united multiracial society, where the different races can live in peace and harmony.

Pakatan will:

1. Focus on efforts to mend the deteriorated relationships among the races and religions.

2. Consolidate the efforts of all stakeholders in order to restore the good will, mutual respect and trust which have long been practiced by the multi-racial and multi-religious people of Malaysia.

3. Enact a Race Relations Act to safeguard unity and harmony of the people and to eliminate discrimination among the races.

4. Generate support from every level of the society so that it can hold fast to all the principles and norms that should be upheld by an open society.

5. Strive to eliminate the practice of racial politics through various means including education, mass media, dialogues and consultations.

6. Cultivate a Malaysian culture based on moral values and excellence that is accepted by all races.
This will require an open attitude towards cultural diversity that is practiced by the various races and ethnic groups in Malaysia.
Pakatan will do this whilst taking consideration the country's history and evolution.

7. Improve the welfare of Orang Asli, Orang Asal and other minority groups in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak besides defending their fundamental, economic and social rights.

B. Religion

Religion and other beliefs practiced by Malaysians should form the basis of unity that is founded on good universal values.
Malaysians have almost fallen into the boiling pot of discord and tension that was caused by manipulation of religious differences.
This should not happen in a genuinely democratic Malaysia, with Islam occupying a special position whilst the rights of other religions are guaranteed.

Pakatan vows to:

1. Defend the position of Islam as the religion of the Federation and guarantee freedom of religion for every Malaysian.

2. Organise dialogues and consultations between cultures and religions in order to strengthen the understanding among them.

3. Set up a comprehensive mechanism to provide just resolutions to cases which involve the overlap of civil and syariah laws, including a royal commission to deeply study all the relevant issues.

4. Strengthen the management of Islamic institutions such as Baitul Mal and Tabung Haji to ensure that they are administered effectively and efficiently to achieve their objectives.

5. Ensure suitable areas for places of worship and burial grounds for all religions.

C. Education

Education should be aimed at creating a person who is balanced spiritually, physically and intellectually.
Through the national education system, Pakatan resolves to provide a system of education that is competent, of high quality and guarantees equal opportunity to the people.

Pakatan will:

1. Make the national school system the foundation of the nation's education system.
Ensure the equitable support and funding to religious schools, Chinese and Tamil national schools, mission schools and vocational schools in a concerted effort to increase the standard of national education.

2. Balance the emphasis from an examination-oriented system to a learning system based on critical and analytical thinking in search for the truth.

3. Ensure that every eligible student will have an opportunity to be placed in public institutions of higher learning regardless of their backgrounds.

4. Amend the University and University Colleges Act 1974 in order to create a conducive climate that guarantees academic freedom and university autonomy which increases the quality of education comparable with developed countries.

5. Ensure the appointment of vice chancellors, rectors, and other high ranking academic officials are based on qualification and approval of the Senate Council.

6. Improve the quality and facilities of disadvantaged schools in the interior parts of Sabah and Sarawak;

7. Increase the quality of teachers' education at every school level and increase the number of trained teachers based on demand.

8. Provide a high level of training opportunities for teachers and lecturers so that their knowledge and professional expertise are up to date.

9. Re-examine the teachers' service scheme and increase incentives for those who teach in the rural areas.

10. Provide scholarships based on merit and other financial aid based on need with priority given to poor students from the rural and interior areas.

11. Emphasise the importance of students mastering various languages including English, Arabic and Mandarin as leading languages in the world and also other mother tongues.

12. Provide places and training for those who drop out of school.

13. Widen the scope of the National Accreditation Board to monitor and propose the recognition of certificates, diplomas and degrees both local and international which fulfill the acceptable academic standards including the UEC certificate and Diploma Muadalah (twinning).- Malaysiakini, 19/12/2009,A new consensus for Malaysia

Saturday, December 19, 2009

What about breast feeding areas & child care facilities at workplaces for workers in Malaysia?

Now, what about breast-feeding areas and childcare centres/facilities in workplaces? MP should also be concerned for all workers in Malaysia, not just MPs...
Women MPs now have a special area in the VIP restroom at the Parliament building to nurse their infants.

The first to benefit from this area divided by a curtain is Nurul Izzah Anwar (PKR-Lembah Pantai) who uses it to breast-feed her five-month-old baby Raja Ahmad Harith Raja Ahmad Sharir.

Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin (BN-Papar) who is seven-and-a-half-months pregnant also plans to use the facility made available since the opening of the current Parliament session in October.

The Deputy Health Minister plans to breast-feed her baby in the special area next year.

Simply the breast: Nurul Izzah carrying her fivemonth- old baby Raja Ahmad while Rosnah is getting the baby’s attention after feeding in Parliament.

Rosnah, who has three adopted children will undergo a Caesarean section next month.

“I am very excited. This is my first natural child and the baby is active and kicking every 15 minutes,” said Rosnah who added that she did not suffer any morning sickness.

Nurul Izzah, 29, requested for a nursing room when she gave birth to her second child five months ago.

Her first girl Raja Nur Safiyah was only a few months old when Nurul Izzah won the Lembah Pantai parliamentary seat in the March 8 general election last year.
“I used to feel bad to have the place for myself,” said Nurul Izzah. - Star, 19/12/2009, Women MPs get breast-feeding area

And, what the right of migrant workers to allow their families to be able to visit/stay with them when they come over to Malaysia to work?