‘Third Force’ says no to three-ways

10 May

By Debra Chong

Haris said MCLM was not set up to split the opposition vote. — Pictures by Jack OoiKUALA LUMPUR, Dec 22 — The Malaysian Civil Liberties Movement (MCLM) last night said it was trying to help the opposition pact regain momentum in the coming elections.

Its president, Haris Ibrahim, moved to quell public scepticism that its independent candidate initiative would cause a vote-split with the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and derail the drive to topple the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government.

“This thing about three-cornered fights, we also don’t want,” Haris told a public forum here last night.

“We see it as a major hurdle to taking power in Putrajaya,” he added.

Haris said MCLM had held informal talks with PR leaders, including at the national level, and claimed feedback was positive.

But he admitted they have not spoken to Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The lawyer who blogs on the website, the People’s Parliament, explained that MCLM was trying to pressure the PR parties to identify early those they planned to field in the 13th general election and where, so that voters can decide who they wanted to represent them.

Haris said that in the past the parties’ picks would be disclosed only a week before nominations, and sometimes, on the day itself.

“I’ve been told ‘If we disclose too early, BN will come and buy them’,” he related.

He claimed the second reason given for maintaining secrecy over the identities of the candidates was to prevent possible “sabotage” from within the parties, by grassroots’ members who may be dissatisfied with their central leaderships’ choices.

Malik was offered up as MCLM’s first candidate.Haris said the MCLM will be using PKR’s yardstick to measure the performance of all PR incumbents and will send the reports directly to each party’s top leadership.

The reports will not be made public, he added, to preserve the dignity of the MPs.

“If they are looking for capable replacements [for the incumbents], we will try to assist them with candidates,” Haris said.

He explained that the main idea behind the “third force” was to replace the present batch of self-serving MPs with those the London-based group saw as responsible representatives committed to draw up laws in the public interest.

“We don’t want another frog festival,” he said, reminding the crowd of the five PKR lawmakers who exited the party earlier this year.

Haris told reporters later that MCLM was working on drawing up a contract with the independent candidates to ensure they would not betray the public’s trust.

“We haven’t worked out the details yet, but they may have to pay some kind of compensation if they decide to join a party or whatever,” he said.

The civil society initiative has named lawyers Malik Imtiaz Sarwar and Sreekant Pillai as their two independent candidates to date.

Haris said MCLM is aiming to get 30 people.

He stressed that the independent candidates had each been subjected to a stringent background check by hired private investigators and were required to sign a statutory declaration disclosing all their assets.

The Malaysian Insider understands they have 18 such candidates in their books at the moment.

Student group Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia last night pledged to join the MCLM’s efforts.

Its chief, Shazni Munir Mohd Ithnin, told reporters it was vetting three people as possible candidates.

Haris disclosed that MCLM had failed to draw any women candidates to join its line-up.

“We’ve been asking NGOs for women candidates, but frankly, no one has come forward,” he said.

 He sidestepped a question on the poor response from the women rights groups.

“You have to ask the women NGOs. I can’t answer on their behalf,” he replied.

Haris said he personally does not believe in having a “quota system” because “it takes us back to the sectioning of society”.

He also said that the movement had no plans to contest in Sabah and Sarawak, but refused to disclose the constituencies their candidates would run in.

However, he hinted MCLM was looking at certain urban seats in the Federal Territory and Penang.

Haris had earlier named Wangsa Maju and Bayan Baru as examples where PKR may be persuaded to deal.

The incumbent MPs — Wee Choo Keong for Wangsa Maju and Datuk Zahrain Hashim for Bayan Baru — were among the four PKR lawmakers who had quit the beleaguered reform party citing differences with the central leadership. A fifth MP was sacked for breaching party discipline.

via http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/third-force-says-no-to-three-ways/


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: