Election pundits welcome Peoples’ Manifesto

Two election pundits have backed an initiative calling for public input and submission for a Peoples’ Manifesto, a platform for the people to voice their aspirations to the government.

(FMT) – However, the pundits say the initiative would only be beneficial if it received support from the public, and if the government were committed to listening to the people’s input.

The two organisations, Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia and CSO Platform for Reform have called for public submission of opinions and feedback under 27 policy themes for the Peoples’ Manifesto. The groups say the project will be significant as many believe a snap general election is likely to be held this year.

Commenting on the initiative, Bersih chairman Thomas Fann said the manifesto would act as a guideline for political parties contesting in the elections to formulate ideas and measures to help the people.

“The manifesto will give political parties a glimpse of the people’s aspirations as well as ideas for their own manifestos,” he told FMT.

The initiative would also help to restore democracy in the country, and focus attention on pressing issues.

“I believe it will help identify the issues that are close to the hearts of the man in the street. Sometimes the politicians are out of touch with the grassroots, and this could highlight some concerns that people have,” he said.

Electoral activist Qyira Yusri, who founded the Undi18 movement for young voters, said the effort to gather public opinions would shine a light on the people’s concerns.

“With Parliament still closed, the people do not have an avenue to raise pressing matters as their representatives cannot question the government on important issues,” she said.

However, she noted that the challenge would be getting politicians to consider the manifestos once the submissions were completed.

“I hope they (the government) will engage with the coalitions when they are planning their own manifestos. Additionally, I hope the initiative will work with grassroots communities to include marginalised voices in the mainstream discussions.”

Submissions of views and proposals for the People’s Manifesto can be submitted here before the deadline on June 11.