Press statement by Kua Kia Soong, SUARAM Adviser 1.10.2018

Now that Anwar Ibrahim’s destiny as 8th prime minister draws potentially closer with the costly PD by election, Malaysians wait with bated breath for him to reveal his vision for the country when he takes over from the current PM. So far, we have only heard his plans to “make PD great again”, promising development to the area as in any other constituency in an election.

If Anwar is only going to focus on the PD constituency, then the unforced resignation by the GE14 elected MP was indeed frivolous and a waste of taxpayers’ monies. On the back of PH unfulfilled election promises, we expect Anwar to address national issues that are central to reforming Malaysia, issues about which the current PM has not yet shown commitment.

1.            An end to race-based policies

Will Anwar replace race-based policies such as the NEP with needs-based measures that truly benefit the lower-income and marginalized sectors? And with more than 95% Bumiputera composition in the civil and armed forces, will the PM designate ensure that recruitment and promotion in these services are based on merit from now on? Furthermore, does Anwar endorse Dr. Mahathir’s plan to privatise Khazanah to benefit Bumiputera interests?

2.            A commitment to equality

Apart from racial discrimination, will Anwar commit to implementing an Equality Act to ensure equality for all regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender and sexuality and changing SUHAKAM into an Equality and Human Rights Commission? Will he ban child marriages and decriminalise consensual sex between adults?

3.  A progressive and fair economic policy

Will he ensure that Petronas’ revenues are invested in a Sovereign Wealth Fund as a pension fund for future generations and the oil-producing states. Instead of more privatisation, will he ensure a strong and fairly distributed public-sector health, education, housing, transport services including highways?

Will Anwar address the increasingly serious gap in income inequality through progressive taxation on the high-income earners, their wealth and property and effective tax laws to ensure there are no tax loopholes for the super-rich, capital allowances and tax holidays for foreign firms and will a tax be imposed on all international financial transactions and hedge funds? And does he agree with the PM’s plan for a new national car, Proton 2.0?

4. Start the process to bring back elected local councils now

Will Anwar begin the process of bringing back elected local government right away and not use financial constraints as an excuse for not returning this democratic right to Malaysians?

5. Repeal all detention-without-trial laws

Will Anwar abolish the death penalty and impose a moratorium on all executions; rescind all laws that violate international human rights such as detention-without-trial as soon as possible?

6. Zero tolerance for Corruption

Will Anwar make it mandatory for all public officials to declare all their assets, including those of their spouses and children? An asset declaration should cover the public official’s assets and income, the assets and income of their spouses and dependent children, from all homes, valuables and financial portfolios, as well as liabilities, such as debts and mortgages; all sources of income from directorships and investments to consulting contracts; gifts and any potential conflicts of interest such as unpaid employment contracts.

Will Anwar stop the dubious practice of appointing peoples’ representatives as directors of federal and state corporations and also ensure that any public official charged with corruption be obligated to step down while their case is pending in the courts?

7.            A Far-Sighted and Fair Education Policy

Will we see equal opportunities are afforded to all without any racial discrimination with regard to enrolment into all schools including tertiary educational institutions? Besides provision of national schools using BM, mother tongue schools for the various ethnic groups should be built in education precincts designed with shared facilities to promote integration, ensure proportionate financial support and train adequate numbers of teachers for these schools. Will Anwar ensure the immediate recognition of the Malaysian Independent Chinese Secondary Schools’ Unified Examination Certificate since it was promised in the Buku Harapan before GE14?

8.            Defend Workers’ Rights & Interests

What is Anwar’s policy with regard the right of all workers to unionise and a progressive guaranteed living wage for all workers, including foreign workers? Will Anwar ensure a guaranteed minimum wage of RM1,500 as promised in the Buku Harapan instead of the despicable RM1,050 that the new PH government has just announced?

9.            Prioritise Orang Asal Rights

Will Anwar make it a priority that we put the rights and livelihood of the Orang Asal at the top of the national agenda by recognizing their rights over the land they have been occupying for centuries, prohibiting logging in Orang Asal land and ensuring all Orang Asal villages have adequate social facilities and services. Will he ensure that all policies and laws comply with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), especially their right to customary land.

Will Anwar set up a Ministry for Indigenous peoples to show his commitment to prioritising the rights and livelihood of the Orang Asal? 

10. Sustainable development

Does Anwar subscribe to sustainable development by ensuring that all local people are consulted before any development projects, that all permanent forest and wildlife reserves remain gazetted and renewable energy projects that do not destroy forests or Orang Asal land? It is high time that all Malaysian rivers were cleaned up and sewerage from hotels and townships is properly recycled and not dumped into the sea such as at Port Dickson, once our favourite beach on the West Coast. This requires municipal, state and national authorities’ coordination and political will. Cleaning the beach is easy, making our waters great again requires more effort!

We therefore await Saudara Anwar’s “Port Dickson Declaration” to show us his vision for the nation that takes us beyond that of the present Prime Minister’s. Unless he does this, the so-called “PD Move” will be recorded in Malaysian history as a frivolous exercise to test the patience of taxpayers and voters.

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