A Joint 2024 New Year Message

Date: January 1, 2024

A Joint 2024 New Year Message

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-beings 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 the 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.

This statement is Initiated by Project – Stability and Accountability for Malaysia (Projek SAMA) the latest initiative to advocate for institutional reforms within a bigger narrative of political stability and accountability as our common aspirations at a time our nation steers through democratisation into the uncharted waters of hung parliament and coalition governments. In Malaysia, we share the common destiny. Ngeow Chow Ying serves as its convenor.

This message is endorsed by:-

Civil Society Organisations

  1. Project – Stability and Accountability for Malaysia (Projek SAMA)
  2. Architect for Diversity (AOD)
  3. Bait Al Amanah
  4. Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih)
  5. Centre for Electoral Education and Democracy (CEED)
  6. Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
  7. Citizens Against Enforced Disappearances (CAGED)
  8. Engage
  9. IMAN Research
  10. Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS)
  11. Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)
  12. Lawyer Kamek
  13. LLG Cultural Development Centre
  14. Movement for Change Sarawak (MoCS)
  15. Muslim Professionals Forum (MPF)
  16. National Human Rights Society (HAKAM)
  17. Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia (GERAK)
  18. Pacos Trust
  19. Persatuan Aliran Kesedaran Negara (Aliran)
  20. Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan (Patriot)
  21. Persatuan Penulis Berbilang Bahasa (PEN Malaysia)
  22. Persatuan Pemangkin Daya Masyarakat (ROSE)
  23. Pusat Komas
  24. Sabah Action Body Advocating Rights (SABAR)
  25. Sarawak Dayak Iban Association
  26. Saudara.org
  27. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
  28. Sisters in Islam (SIS)
  29. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
  30. The Sarawak Initiative (TSI)
  31. Tindak Malaysia
  32. Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M)
  33. Workable Initiatives for Secularism, Decentralisation, Openness and Moderation (WISDOM) Foundation

Individuals
(Disclaimer: All individual listed endorse the new year message in their personal capacity. Their current or former affiliation is only for identification)

  1. Beverly Joeman, Supreme Council Member, Kadazan Society Sabah (KSS)
  2. Brigadier-General (Retired) Dato’ Mohamad Arshad Raji, past President, Patriot
  3. Christopher Leong, past President, Malaysian Bar
  4. Dashran Yohan, journalist
  5. Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan, past President, Malaysian Bar
  6. Dato’ Dennis Ignatius, former Malaysian Ambassador
  7. Dato’ Mah Weng Kwai, retired Judge, Court of Appeal
  8. Dato’ Yeo Yang Poh, past President, Malaysian Bar
  9. Datuk Dr Johan Ariffin Samad, former CEO, Institute for Development Studies (IDS), Sabah
  10. Datuk John Tenewi Nuek, former Malaysian Ambassador
  11. Datuk Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari, past President, Malaysian Bar
  12. Dato’ Seri Mohd Hishamudin Yunus, retired Judge, Court of Appeal
  13. Datin Fazar Arif, founder, Pergerakan Wanita Empowerment Revolution (POW.ER)
  14. Dr Alek Tuen, former Professor, University of Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS)
  15. Dr Andrew Aeria, former Associate Professor, University of Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS)
  16. Dr Cecilia Ng, independent consultant
  17. Dr Edmund Terence Gomez, former Professor, University of Malaya (UM)
  18. Dr Francis Loh Kok Wah, retired Professor, University of Science Malaysia (USM)
  19. Dr Hatta Solhi, Former Chairman, Lembaga Pengarah, UNIMAS
  20. Dr Lim Teck Ghee, policy analyst
  21. Dr Peter Songan, retired Professor, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS)
  22. Dr Phoon Wing Keong, political scientist
  23. Dr S. Munirah Alatas, former Visiting Professor, Indonesian International Islamic University (UIII)
  24. Dr Toh Kin Woon, member, Board of Directors, Pusat Sejarah Rakyat
  25. Derek John Fernandez, Councillor, Petaling Jaya City Councillor
  26. Emeritus Professor Dato’ Abdul Rahman Embong, IKMAS, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)
  27. Emeritus Professor Datuk Shad Saleem Faruqi, University of Malaya (UM)
  28. Faridah Tun Fuad Stephens, ex-publisher, Sabah
  29. Iqbal Fatkhi, Editor-in-Chief, Cilisos Media
  30. Jahabar Saddiq, Chief Editor, The Malaysian Insight
  31. Jayanath Appudurai, former Director, National Science Centre
  32. Jerald Joseph, former Commissioner, National Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam)
  33. Lim Hong Siang, columnist
  34. Maha Balakrishnan, parliamentary consultant and researcher
  35. Malek Ali, founder, BFM
  36. Martin Vengadesan, associate editor, Malaysiakini
  37. Nadira Ilana, filmmaker
  38. Professor Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid, University of Science Malaysia (USM)
  39. Professor Wong Chin Huat, political scientist
  40. Professor Zaharom Nain, University of Nottingham in Malaysia
  41. Richard YW Yeoh, former Member, Electoral Reform Committee (2018-20), Prime Minister’s Department
  42. Sharaad Kuttan, journalist
  43. Stanley Yong, vice president, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH)
  44. Steven Thiru, past President, Malaysian Bar
  45. Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, former Chief Minister, Sabah
  46. Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim, former Secretary-General of Treasurer, Ministry of Finance
  47. Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff bin Md Yusof, former Speaker, Dewan Rakyat
  48. Tan Sri Simon Sipaun, former Secretary of State, Sabah
  49. Thomas Fann, former Chairperson, Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih)
  50. Tang Ah Chai, President, Persatuan Sahabat Warisan Kuala Lumpur and Selangor
  51. Yap Swee Seng, former Executive Director, Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih)
  52. Zikri Kamarulzaman, Journalist

Link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *