Malaysiakini: Barisan Rakyat vs Barisan Nasional
Posted February 23, 2008on:
|Soon Li Tsin | Feb 23, 08 4:02pm|
|No three cornered fights, no individual party manifestos and no divisive politics between opposition parties.
These are the ideals of a civil society movement who created a Barisan Rakyat (People’s Front) – endorsees of a People’s Declaration – to take on the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (National Front) in the coming general election.
Convene by The People’s Parliament initiator Haris Ibrahim (right) at the Blog House in Damansara Heights today, six political parties- Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), PKR, DAP, PAS, Malaysian Democratic Party (MDP) and the United Pasok Nunukragang National Organization (Pasok) – expressly voiced their support for the initiative.
PAS central committee member Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud got the crowd cheering when she said her party is supportive of the People’s Declaration.
Strong backing from PAS
“When our president (Abdul Hadi Awang) announced our manifesto recently, the press was angry because there was no ‘Islamic state’ in it because they (the press) wanted to hang us over this issue.
“When we used Islamic state last time, people called us extremists so we transformed it into a 12-core manifesto which coincides with many points in this declaration,” she said to a rousing applause.
Meanwhile DAP NGO bureau chief Ronnie Liu announced that the opposition has reached a pact to ensure all seats will be contested on a one-to-one basis dispelling concerns over three-cornered fights.
The 19-page People’s Declaration calls for national unity, genuine democracy, enhanced administrative transparency, strengthened economy and fulfilling the social contract.
While its sister document called The People’s Voice calls for race-based political governance of the country to be rejected and to have in its place a non race-based system of governance.
It also urges for the original aims of the New Economic Policy to eradicate poverty regardless of race be immediately given effect and implemented.
Haris – a renowned human rights lawyer – revealed that the declaration was in fact based on a joint election manifesto prepared for the Alternative Front in 1999 which was not publicised in the elections at that time.
About 100 people mostly decked in yellow t-shirts holding a copy of the declaration were seen nodding as Haris said the state of politics in the country today has raised concerns among the public.
People the boss
“Barisan Rakyat is the hope for the people. Civil society will no longer be a passive component in the political, electoral process.
“We want quality candidates to take their place in the electoral process. We want the ability to be fully informed of candidates that are worthy of our choice.
“Under the constitution, the people are the boss and when you come to us for our vote and offer to serve us, you must move from Yang Berhormat (the Honourable) to Yang Berkhidmat (the Servant),” he said to claps from the audience.
He told the crowd that the document belongs to the people and urged them to spread the word.
Also present to endorse the declaration was PKR central committee member Badrul Hisham Saharin and MDP secretary-general Wee Choo Keong.
Both will be contesting in the elections with the former facing deputy Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin and the latter in Wangsa Maju under the PKR ticket.