28 April 2018

The 14th General Elections, like the previous general elections, is touted as the “mother of all general elections”. But exactly how crucial is this particular election for the fate of the country?

Our friends weigh in with a grave message in this article of our feature editorial on GE14.

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RAMA RAMANATHAN

Civil rights activist

GE14 is, essentially, a contest between two coalitions. The regime, Barisan Nasional, is a superficial coalition of multi-racial, multi-religious parties – superficial because it is dominated by UMNO.

The opposition coalition have demonstrated that they can work together successfully in at least 2 states for 10 years. They are viewed as less prone to corruption, especially because Dr Mahathir, leader of the Barisan Nasional and Prime Minister for 22 years, is now leading them. Pakatan Harapan, in its manifesto, has promised institutional reforms. This augurs well for the restoration of democracy. This also signals that we will pursue the aspirations of the United Nations with respect to human rights. While we cannot be sure the promises will be delivered, the manifesto at least shows they are sensitivity to the dreams of many.

If Barisan Nasional recovers the two thirds majority in Parliament which it lost in 2008, the government will make changes to the Federal Constitution, to entrench policies which are more akin to those of pre-World War II Nazi Germany and pre-Mandela South Africa.

The answer is clear. GE14 is crucial for the nation.

“We must strive to have check and balances as absolute power corrupts.”

Ivy Josiah

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IVY JOSIAH

Women’s rights activist

We are at a tipping point. 60 years of BN rule has become toxic. Yes, there are schools, hospitals, laws and we can still make a buck or two but giving BN another 5 years means we are giving away a country to a group who do not respect the rakyat nor the Constitution. We must strive to have check and balances as absolute power corrupts.

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REV. DR. HERMAN SHASTRI

Council of Churches Malaysia

The GE 14 is crucial because it will reflect the voice of the people as to the kind of government and national policies they want for themselves. The voice of the people must be protected by a clean, fair and peaceful election process.

“The results will bind this country for the next 8-10 years, until the next redelineation exercise.”

Andrew Khoo

“If BN is returned to power, I fear the worst for our country. Corruption will escalate even further, billions will be looted and illegally taken out of the country.”

Datuk Dennis Ignatius

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DATUK DENNIS IGNATIUS

Foreign policy consultant

As I have written in a recent article, GE14 is in all likelihood the last chance for change that we might have. Certainly, it might well be the last meaningful elections in our country given the extensive gerrymandering, malapportionment and other measures that they Election Commission has taken to ensure that the opposition is deprived of a fair chance of challenging the ruling party.

If BN is returned to power, I fear the worst for our country. Corruption will escalate even further, billions will be looted and illegally taken out of the country. Slowly but surely, Malaysia will be impoverished. Politically, they will resort to increasing authoritarianism, racism and religious extremism to stay in power while using the slew of anti-democratic legislation that has already been enacted to stifle criticism and silence the opposition.

“A huge voter turnout, especially in those areas where the boundaries have been unfairly redrawn (with a low voter-MP ratio), is crucial to overturn whatever advantage has been built into the redelineation.”

Andrew Khoo

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ANDREW KHOO

Human rights activist

This is a critical juncture in our country.  I know everybody says that about every election.  But this time around it is more true. It will be the first election conducted under new electoral boundaries that have been clearly drawn unfairly, with no proper regard to the principle of ‘one person, one vote, one value’.  A huge voter turnout, especially in those areas where the boundaries have been unfairly redrawn (with a low voter-MP ratio), is crucial to overturn whatever advantage has been built into the redelineation. The results will bind this country for the next 8-10 years, until the next redelineation exercise.

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REV. FR. CLARENCE DEVADASS

Director of Catholic Research Centre

Every GE is crucial… citizens need to make a decision as to who they want to form the government of the day. GE14 is no different from other GEs. However, given the state that we are in currently, the citizens need to made crucial decision for the future of our country.