This is the statement of a seven-member delegation of the Progressive Alliance that visited Malaysia to assess and demonstrate solidarity in support of democratic processes in the run-up to the 2018 General Election.
The delegation attempted but failed to meet the Speaker of the Parliament of Malaysia, but was successful in meeting political leaders from several parties, leaders of civic organizations and visited communities in Kuala Lumpur (capital city of Malaysia).
The delegation included:
- Giacomo Filibeck, Deputy Secretary-General, Party of European Socialist (PES)
- Neena Gill, Member of European Parliament, Group of Socialists and Democrats (S&D Group)
- Evin Incir, International Secretary, Swedish Social Democratic Party (SAP)
- Greg Moran, Australian Labor International
- Ana Pirtskhalava, Secretary-General, International Union of Socialist (IUSY)
- Conny Reuter, Secretary General, SOLIDAR
- Rainer Vogt, Progressive Alliance
We are concerned to learn from reports and discussions with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) active in Malaysia as well as various institutions, political and community leaders about the following issues:
- Reports of disenfranchisement of opposition supporters through re-delineation and gerrymandering in favour of the ruling party of Malaysia, taking into account anticipated political allegiances and ethnicities. This includes the reported proposal to create 13 “Super constituencies” with over 100,000 voters each, mostly in opposition-held, non-Malay areas;
- Concerns over mismanagement of voter records;
- Reported tampering with voter registration;
- Reported inaccessibility of electronic data of the draft supplementary electoral roll;
- Concerns that expansion of postal voter categories may facilitate fraud;
- Reports of infringements on freedom of assembly and association of Malaysian citizens and arrests, charges against and convictions of activists, artists, politicians, and non- affiliated citizens under draconian laws, as well as denial of legal status to opposition political parties;
- Potential negative impact of high inequality and corruption on equal participation in elections;
In light of the above observations, we call on the Federal Government of Malaysia to ensure that the Election Commission adheres to due impartiality, there is no gerrymandering or malapportionment of electoral districts and that voter registration takes place in line with international standards. Respecting and upholding the social, human, civic, economic rights and advocacies of Civil Society Organisations, Nongovernmental Organisations, and organized groups goes to the core of free and fair elections; citizens of Malaysia need to be able to inform themselves about the general election and respect freedom of assembly, association and expression. It furthermore is vital that inclusive policies upholding the rights of all members of Malaysian society – regardless of gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, age and political affiliation – are institutionalized.
We encourage authorities of Malaysia to invite international electoral observation missions to ensure that democratic processes are improved upon and adhered to.
Any democratic elections must be nothing less than an enabling mechanism for its electorate to bring change. In view of the social, political and economic inequalities that are rife in Malaysia, far-reaching and wide-ranging institutional reforms must be front and centre of the next government’s agenda to ensure the economic inequalities, systemic flaws of governance, and a deficit of democratic rights are addressed for all Malaysians.
We, in the Progressive Alliance, are committed to closely monitoring the situation.
For democracy and social justice, the international community unites!