Bersih Congress: Government Urged to Expedite Institutional Reforms, Abolish Sedition Act

Bersih Congress: Government Urged to Expedite Institutional Reforms, Abolish Sedition Act

KUALA LUMPUR: The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) once again calls on the government to expedite institutional reforms, including separating the roles of the Attorney General and Public Prosecutor and implementing the appointment of the Chairman of the Election Commission (SPR) through Parliament.

Its Chairman, Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz, also demands that the government immediately implement the reform agenda promised before the 15th General Election (GE15).

At the same time, he expressed concern that the promises made during GE15 might not be fulfilled by the end of the term, given that politicians will soon be busy with a series of elections involving Sabah, Sarawak, Melaka, and Johor starting next year.

“The government should have a plan, at least regarding the separation of powers between the Attorney General and the Public Prosecutor, and there should be a plan similar to the movement seen with the Parliamentary Act.

“Previously, the current political scenario was used as an excuse for not implementing reforms, especially when involving several attempts to overthrow the government and leaders being busy preparing for elections in six states.

“We do not want the reform agenda to be sidelined or deemed unimportant within the next four years. This mandate should not die without any changes,” he said at the Bersih Congress 2024 here on Saturday.

Additionally, Muhammad Faisal stated that Malaysia is at a crossroads that will determine its direction of reform—whether towards ‘genuine reform’ aimed at democratization and better governance policies or towards ‘corrupted reform’ where the reform agenda is buried.

He emphasized that the years 2024 and 2025 are critical in outlining the country’s path to democratization.

At the same congress, former Bersih Chairperson Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan questioned the relevance of the Sedition Act 1948, arguing that it is no longer suitable for the country’s democracy.

She also criticized the Pakatan Harapan (PH) leadership, which previously persistently pressured the former government to abolish the act but seemed to forget once they came to power.

“Why do we still need the Sedition Act of 1948? We have been pushing the government to abolish this act for quite some time.

“The current government leadership has fought for a long time to abolish this act.

“But what I have noticed is that when you are not in power, you dislike the Sedition Act. But when you gain power, you like the act. Why?

“I don’t understand. That is why we need leadership that listens to the people’s voices. The act is not suitable for us; this country should be democratic. The Sedition Act must be abolished,” she said.

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