Bersih criticism of govt unfair, say DAP and Umno duo

Umno Supreme Council member Razlan Rafii says the electoral watchdog has become irrelevant.

(FMT) –  Two leaders from parties in the unity government have defended Putrajaya from Bersih’s criticism over the pace of institutional reforms, with one Umno man saying the electoral watchdog has become irrelevant.

DAP central executive committee member Sheikh Umar Bagharib Ali said the government was working hard to implement reforms at various levels, adding that institutional reforms, in particular, take time to bear fruit.

“Bersih wants everything to be implemented at the snap of a finger, it’s unfair. Bersih submitted several demands in February but it’s only June now, so it’s unjustified to say that the prime minister and his Cabinet aren’t committed to pursuing reforms.

“The Cabinet is particularly working on separating the roles of the attorney-general and public prosecutor, which would be a key institutional reform for our country,” the Johor DAP vice-chief told FMT.

Bersih chairman Faisal Abdul Aziz presented a memorandum to Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim in February, calling for reforms like the enactment of a political finance act and a limit to the prime minister’s term of office, among others.

During a forum last week, the Bersih chief gave the government an “F” in terms of fulfilling the reforms promised in Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) manifesto for the last general election. Faisal also said he saw little to no effort from Putrajaya in implementing Bersih’s demands.

PH leaders have repeatedly said that Putrajaya cannot fulfil all of the coalition’s election pledges since the unity government is a coalition government involving other parties like Barisan Nasional (BN).

Meanwhile, Umno Supreme Council member Razlan Rafii said that many of Bersih’s demands in the past had been fulfilled by the previous BN government.

This includes allowing Malaysians residing overseas to cast postal ballots, and the use of indelible ink during the voting process.

Razlan said that the government should carefully consider Bersih’s latest demands, claiming that some of them were “illogical” and unjustified, including its call to stop appointing former civil servants to head the Election Commission (EC).

“Bersih needs to understand that the person appointed (as EC chairman) is no ordinary (former civil servant). The candidate must have extensive knowledge of the law, government administration and management.

“Right now, Bersih is just playing politics. They are actually no longer relevant,” he said.