The reform process in Malaysia must not be derailed
25 February 2020
We refer to the political developments that resulted in the resignation of Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad yesterday and the subsequent collapse of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.
The 14th General Elections (GE14) was unprecedented in Malaysia’s history, as people came out in force to vote for change and rejected the corrupt and divisive politics of the past. For the first time since independence, a new ruling coalition was elected, and hopes were high for Malaysia.
The PH coalition was always going to face challenges, but progress was being made towards genuine reform. Under this administration, Malaysia has become a more accountable, transparent and rights-respecting democracy.
Unfortunately, the coalition has also been tainted by the relentless tussle for power since GE14. Instead of building on the trust and goodwill of the people, this has jeopardised the momentous opportunity for change and disregarded the people’s mandate. We urge the elected representatives to firmly focus and continue with the reform process and not allow Malaysia to revert to the old corrupt and divisive politics that we voted to leave behind.
In any democratic society, the government must be formed by and reflect the will of the people it represents. Constitutionally, it is now for the person who can command the confidence of the majority of the Dewan Rakyat to form the new government. We call upon all parties to work together for the betterment and future of the country, and not derail the important reform and progress already made thus far.
However, if no one is able to command the confidence of the majority of the Dewan Rakyat with a legal and transparent process, then it is proper and democratic for a fresh general election to be called, to allow the people the chance to vote once again and give a fresh and resounding mandate to the new Prime Minister and the government.
Lawyers for Liberty