Bersih: PH Performance Commendable for Now, Long Road Ahead

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While many objectives have yet to be achieved, Pakatan Harapan (PH) has done a commendable job in its first year in government.

  • Fulfilled: reducing number of ministers in PM Dept to 3, not allowing PM to hold any other cabinet position, opposition MP chairing PAC, making EC more independent
  • Yet to fulfil: Parliament to sit for at least 100 days, separating the offices of the AG and public prosecutor, making Judicial Appointment Commission, MACC and Suhakam more independent
  • Points of contention: No limit to terms of office for mentris besar and chief ministers, opposition MPs don’t get same funding as government MPs

Electoral watchdog group Bersih 2.0 chairman Thomas Fann said PH did well in electoral, political and institutional reforms but cautioned that there was a lot more work on the road ahead.

For instance, he said, of the 44 promises in six broad categories that PH made in its election manifesto, six had been fulfilled while only two had been reversed or broken.

In addition, six promises are already partially fulfilled and eight more are in progress. However, eight remained barely fulfilled while there was no progress on the remaining 14.

Under Bersih’s scoring system that gave four points for every fulfilled promise and progressively down to deducting a point for every broken promise, PH scored 64 out of a possible 176 points.

The assessment of PH’s performance in its first year in government is contained in a 30-page report card titled Electoral, Political and Institutional Reforms that was released at a press conference at the Bersih headquarters today.

Overall, the report card gave PH a passing grade of 36.4 out of 100 that Bersih said was commendable given that it was only in its first year of a five-year term.

“Don’t expect a child to pass his final-year exams during his first-term exams. If we consider it in percentage terms, we should not expect more than 20%,” Fann said.

Masry Che Ani/Sunpix

Bersih 2.0 chairman Thomas Fann (L), executive director Yap Swee Seng. 

The six major pledges in the PH manifesto are to limit the prime minister’s term of office and restructuring the Prime Minister’s Department, separate the offices of the attorney-general and the public prosecutor, restore the dignity of Parliament, ensure transparency and robustness of the electoral system, create a political financing system with integrity and strengthen the role and power of local authorities.

Fann commended PH for reducing the number of ministers in the Prime Minister’s Department to three and for not allowing the prime minister to hold any other cabinet position.

He also gave the thumbs up for the decision to have an opposition MP chair the bi-partisan Public Accounts Committee.

He lauded the move to make the Election Commission more independent but said the same should be done for the Judicial Appointment Commission, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and Suhakam.

However, he is critical of the fact that there still was no limit to the terms of office for mentris besar and chief ministers.

The fact that opposition MPs do not get the same amount of funds and are not accorded the same dignity as government MPs was also a point of contention for Bersih.

Fann suggested that the functions of the attorney-general and the public prosecutor should be fully separated before the end of PH’s second year in power.

Lastly, he said, PH had promised that Parliament would sit for at least 100 days per year but it had sat for only 68 days this year.

Despite the fact that there still are more than 100 laws to amend, there is no sign that Parliament sitting would be extended to the promised 100 days, he added.

– The Sun Daily