Siti Kasim says civil society groups not enough to push for reform

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Nothing will change by just being a civil society group in Malaysia if it seeks to implement good policies and reform the system, prominent lawyer-activist Siti Kasim said today.

Siti, who today announced she will contest the Batu seat as an independent at the 15th general election under the Gerak Independent initiative, said while Malaysia has good civil society groups that are constantly fighting for important issues, it has resulted in little to zero changes.

“Why is it that they (civil society groups) fight for these issues but nothing has changed? or at least a little change, despite them making a lot of presentations to the government, meeting with ministers, being involved in roundtable discussions, and all that. Why?” she said in response to a comment that Gerak should just be a good civil society group instead of going into politics.

“Because only parliament can change the policies and the laws that are being implemented in Malaysia.

Faihan Ghani/The Star

“This is why I keep saying, if you want change in Malaysia, you have to have good people in parliament then only will you get good policies,” Siti said.

She said if people depended on career politicians, then they would be waiting until the end of time and there would still be no reforms.

“If you think these career politicians will change things for you, then I’m sorry, you will wait forever.

“This is what I am doing, I am walking the talk, I have been making noise, I have been making noise about a lot of things. I have seen what are the problems in Malaysia but nothing, nothing can change if we don’t have this separation of independence in our institutions like the judiciary and Parliament.

“Only parliament can change that, only parliament can change the laws and policies in this country and only parliament can appoint good people to head these institutions,” Siti added.

Gerak Independent, a joint initiative promoting independent candidates for the general election (GE), today announced it will be contesting six parliamentary seats currently held by Pakatan Harapan in GE15.

The seats are Batu, Subang, Petaling Jaya, Wangsa Maju and Kota Kinabalu.

The candidates to stand in those seats are Siti (Batu), former journalist Charles CJ Chow (Subang), activist KJ John (Petaling Jaya), Wangsa Maju resident Raveentheran Suntheralingam (Wangsa Maju) and Sabah-based lawyer Roland Cheng (Kota Kinabalu).

Gerak, which had previously touted itself as a third force, said it was open to forming strategic alliances with other parties or individuals to further its cause, which ultimately aims to make the country fair to all.

Gerak candidates will be tied to five commitments, the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), ending divisive politics, restoring guaranteed freedom to the rakyat, restoring institutional power back to the rakyat, and establishing a needs-based affirmative policy or poverty-eradication programme.

The joint initiative, launched in August last year, is headed by the Malaysian Action for Justice and Unity Foundation (MAJU) along with other civil society groups.

MAJU founder Siti said their focus is to change Malaysia through the only viable solution, Parliament.

The public can view the candidates’ profile on the Gerak mobile application (Gerak App), which aims to improve communication between the people and the independent candidates. – TMI


Earlier report:

Feb 17, Gerak unveils independent candidates for GE15