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Thread: PR Common Policy Platform (PR CPP) - Contents

   
   
       
  1. #11
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    Re: PR CPP - A framework to hold PR accountable to

    A framework to hold PR accountable to

    Written by Analysis by Chan Kok Leong
    Monday, 21 December 2009 00:00

    PETALING JAYA: It's not every day that one gets to see the Lion of Jelutong sandwiched between the two top PAS leaders — Datuk Seri Hadi Awang and Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat. But it's not every day that delegates and leaders from strange bedfellows DAP, PAS and PKR sit together for a joint convention. Unless there is a ceramah or by-election, that is.

    Yet, 20 months after the March 2008 general election, more than a thousand Pakatan Rakyat (PR) delegates and leaders met for the first time last Saturday, to unveil and adopt a common policy platform.

    Though poles apart in terms of racial composition, religion, ideology and economic background, the three coalition partners unveiled a 31-page document to showcase their policy stand on matters concerning governance. While there have been election manifestos given by both the Barisan Nasional coalition and opposition parties just ahead of a general election, this is the first time that a coalition has declared theirs.

    Interestingly, though decades older, the 14-member BN has never made known its common policy on matters concerning governance, race, education, economics and others. But generally, such matters are discussed in the cabinet where almost all coalition members are represented.

    On the positive side, political analyst Wong Chin Huat said he was satisfied with the policy pertaining to federal-state relationships.

    "That for me was the most impressive as it confers certain powers back to the states," said Wong.

    According to PR's policy framework, the coalition promised to guarantee 20% of all oil royalties to be given back to the states to eradicate poverty as opposed to the current 5%.

    PR also promised to return a fairer share of the taxes collected from each state based on an agreed formula and to increase per capita grants to the states.

    "At the moment, states are given a portion of the income taxes obtained but there doesn't seem to be fixed or fair formula," says Wong.

    Currently, most state governments' main income is derived from the land rates collected and other rental payments. As the bulk of this goes towards operating expenditure, most states cannot dictate the pace of development in the state and has to rely on federal development plans.

    Besides being geographically away from the business hub, less developed states such as Kelantan lose out more as it is ruled by the opposition.

    On the negative end, Aliran's Dr Subramaniam Pillay said he would have liked to see more details given in the policy framework.

    "There is not enough information on how PR intends to implement certain policies," he said.

    Wong shared his sentiments, saying more details should have been given on how it intended to renegotiate certain concession agreements with toll operators and independent power producers.

    "While there was a lot of criticism on the impending Goods and Services Tax (GST), very little was mentioned on how PR intends to buy back the toll roads and how much it will cost taxpayers," he added.

    The Sunway Monash University lecturer was equally concerned with the pussyfooting on the subject of local government elections.

    "What do they mean by strengthening local government democracy without holding local government elections?" he asked.

    Although the issue was small, Wong said the principle of holding local government elections goes a long way towards showcasing the coalition's seriousness in upholding democracy.

    But Wong was quick to note that he felt relieved that DAP chairman Karpal Singh and first-time assemblyperson for Selangor Hannah Yeoh had addressed the issue.

    "This shows that they are not ready to brush the matter under the carpet yet," he added.

    While delegates were treated to some BN-bashing by household leaders like PAS' Dr Dzulkifli Ahmad and Salahuddin Mat Ayub, DAP's Anthony Loke, and PKR's R Sivarasa, there was a lack of serious debate on the policies by the other delegates.

    According to a party worker, the debates were restricted this year due to time constraints and concern over the lack of control if the debates were opened to the floor.

    "Although the leaders of all three parties have already adopted the policies, this is the first time that grassroots leaders are seeing it. Hence, the debate participants were handpicked to ensure that the debates were more controlled," she said.

    PAS central committee member Dr Mujahid Yusuf Rawa said this was just the beginning.

    "After this, we will have to go back to the grassroots to explain the framework.

    "But, by and large, the PAS delegates are happy with the part where PR has promised to defend the Federal Constitution and Islam as the official religion," he said.

    Despite the lack of detail on some of the policies or the obvious disagreement over the local government election policy, the framework signals the parties' commitment to make the PR partnership work.

    The common policy framework will serve to reassure voters what they can expect if the coalition comes into power at the federal government level. The platform can also then be used to evaluate PR and hold it accountable.

    And that is the ultimate aim of the framework — accountability. A framework to hold PR accountable to
    py

  2. #12
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    Re: PR CPP - Get real, Pakatan Rakyat

    Get real, Pakatan Rakyat
    24 Dec 09 : 8.00AM

    By Deborah Loh
    deborahloh@thenutgraph.com

    ONE odd thing about the Pakatan Rakyat (PR)'s inaugural convention on 19 Dec 2009 was the fact that none of the grassroots level members were given the chance to debate the common policy framework.

    Instead, those who "debated" the document after it was unveiled were mainly second-tier leaders from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), PAS and the DAP. It suggests that PR leaders were eager to push the common platform through and were not about to face dissent from the grassroots.

    Perhaps that's why the overall document seems to offer little more than the usual feel-good policy statements made during by-election ceramah. It does, however, contain certain reforms which, unfortunately, have now been overshadowed by debate over the omission of restoring local council elections. After that fiasco, can anything else the PR says be taken seriously?

    Proposed reforms


    Some interesting pledges in the common policy:

    putting the appointment of the police chief, attorney-general, anti-corruption commission chief and auditor-general before Parliament;

    re-delineating constituencies to reflect proportional representation, instead of the first-past-the-post system in elections, to ensure fairer representation in legislative houses;

    giving political parties campaign funds based on the percentage of votes obtained in general elections;

    decentralising federal management of state economies;

    introducing an Equal Opportunity Act to eliminate employment discrimination;

    ensuring minimum wage for all Malaysian workers;

    free broadband internet service to reduce the digital divide;

    prioritising individual entrepreneurs when granting taxi permits over large companies;

    having a royal commission to study the overlaps between civil and syariah laws, and having a mechanism to resolve such cases justly;

    passing an act to ensure women obtain just treatment in all fields;

    increasing the female workforce to 60% within 10 years;

    having 30% women representation in all political and government leadership levels; and

    guaranteeing 20% royalty from petroleum income to state governments to eradicate poverty.

    Datuk Zaid Ibrahim did the first draft of the policy framework, which was re-worked by the PR parties. He later said the final
    version closely mirrored his draft, except for the omission on local elections

    Blurred vision


    These are sound proposals, but the framework is short on implementation specifics. It provides no clarity on what a federal government under the PR would look like, or how the PR intends to carry out these policies.

    PR leaders, meanwhile, say that work to formulate steps forward will continue. By now, however, people are impatient to see just how the PR plans to carry out the reforms it has been promising since 8 March 2008.

    Sure, PR states are sidelined in federal government allocations. And the PR in Penang and Selangor are new and learning the ropes and realities of governance. But the three parties still largely behave with an "opposition mindset" of issuing counter-statements, making revelations of wrongdoing, and holding ceramah tours regularly.

    Not that any of this is wrong, but where are actual examples of PR governance at the federal level? For example, it was 16 months after the general election before the coalition finally announced its version of a shadow cabinet. Other than statements by prominent PR leaders on the prime minister, on the economy and finance policies, and occasionally on education, we don't hear much from the other PR shadow committees, do we?

    Instead, the PR distracted itself with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's supposed 16 Sept 2008 federal government takeover. And in between campaigning for nine by-elections, it has had trouble reining in errant members, a near fall-out with PAS over unity talks with Umno, and both inter- and intra-party skirmishes.

    Getting real

    The PR might be more convincing as a federal power if, in addition to the common policy framework, it had also crafted a timeline of policies it will prioritise as a ruling government. It would be impossible and unrealistic for it to implement everything in the framework upon taking over Putrajaya. Many of the proposals involve momentous changes to the status quo in the civil service, private sector and political culture.

    The PR has promised a lot in its policy framework, just like it did when its parties endorsed a return of local council elections and made it a 2008 election promise. But what should we make of its common policy, if it had at one time promised to restore the third vote but is now stalling on it? Does the PR not think through the details, like required amendments to the federal act or resistance from member parties, before committing to a stand? What obstacles might there be in the common policies which the PR hasn't thought about yet?

    For 2010, my New Year wish for the PR is to produce that timeline of priorities if it were to form federal government. The timeline should include a checklist of mini-reforms that need to happen systemically in order for larger reforms to be implemented. For example, what laws need to be drafted or amended; what happens to judgements by the courts if there is to be a mechanism to resolve civil and syariah overlaps; how foreign investments will be affected if a minimum wage is implemented; how an Equal Opportunity Act can be passed when the Federal Constitution grants bumiputera a special position; and how to ensure a decentralised government will not be stymied by BN-loyal civil servants — just to name a few.

    The PR, particularly through the DAP, did well on its proposal for the government to buy back tolled highways from concessionaires and eliminate tolls in a certain number of years. It seems the ruling government is prepared to consider this. If the PR can get cracking on more workable reforms, Malaysians can then have a real choice come election time. The Nut Graph....
    py

  3. #13
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    Re: PR CPP - PR's spin on local elections

    PR's spin on local elections
    23 Dec 09 : 8.00AM

    By Wong Chin Huat
    editor@thenutgraph.com

    SPARE us the spin. The Pakatan Rakyat (PR)'s promise to merely "strengthen local government democracy" in its common policy framework (CPF) is not a wider plan to go beyond local elections. It's a compromise to substitute local elections. And from DAP chairperson Karpal Singh's comment, the obstacle to the coalition's commitment to local elections is clearly PAS.

    But why does PAS object to local elections? What are its considerations? We have no idea, because no PAS leader has explained why the party does not support local elections. No Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) leader has, either. For some, this is esprit de corps at its best between PKR and PAS. But when the tables are turned, this is also denial of information to the citizenry.

    How can an election pledge, upheld explicitly by the DAP and PKR in their manifestos and signed up to indirectly by PAS, be thrown out of the window without any explanation? If local elections should not be held or pursued aggressively, why can't PAS and — according to media reports — PKR politicians who support PAS make their case known? Is this not the practice of accountability?

    Make no mistake: this is not just an academic debate. The PR's CPF is the coalition's de facto manifesto. If elections are called tomorrow, this is what the coalition will use. If elections are held much later, then the CPF will still inform the coalition's manifesto.

    Removing the phrase "local elections" and replacing it with a vague expression like "local government democracy" means that if the PR comes to federal power, it has no obligation to carry out local elections, not unlike PAS's Kelantan state government today.

    Official PR logoCan you accept a new Malaysia under the PR, which insists on continuing to appoint local councillors?

    If today the DAP and PKR can use coalition unity to justify their compromise to accommodate PAS, then the case for "coalition unity" would only be stronger if the PR manages to form federal government. Think about it: if PAS threatens to pull out of the PR in objection to local elections, do you think the DAP or PKR would be willing to forego federal power to fight for local elections?

    You may ask: What is the chance of the PR winning the next elections? If it is very low, should we make a big fuss over some undeliverable electoral promises?

    The fear

    The question is, then: If the chance of the PR winning federal power is extremely low, why should PAS and perhaps its other partners be so adamant to rule out the possibility of introducing local elections? Why should the PR fear local elections in the same way, if not more than, the Perak Barisan Nasional (BN) "government" fears a fresh state election?

    There could be two answers. The first is that the PR has a problem with the outcome of democratic elections. Not unlike the BN, it wants to win as many seats as possible. It likes elections only when it can win them. Since local elections may lead to it losing some local council seats, or even the control of certain councils, the PR does not want local elections. In short, the PR is as authoritarian as the BN.

    The second answer is that the PR has problems with the participants of democratic elections. In other words, the PR does not want local elections because in non-Malay-Malaysian-dominated urban centres, this would result in the political dominance of non-Malay Malaysians.

    This is what is widely believed by the media and politicians to be the reason why local elections are excluded from the PR's CPF. The PR can therefore be seen as racist because it will not allow geographically concentrated minorities to dominate their own local governments. In other words, if Ipoh is 70% non-Malay Malaysian, what's wrong if the city council consisted of 70% or so non-Malay Malaysians?

    One may argue, like Shah Alam PAS Member of Parliament Khalid Samad does, that PAS is not racist, but is merely worried that it will be attacked by Umno as "selling out Malay [Malaysians]". This argument is lame because if PAS or the PR wants to avoid reforms to escape demonisation by Umno, they might as well not oppose the Internal Security Act, which some Malay-Muslim Malaysians claim is instrumental in defending ketuanan Melayu. The solution should be to educate the Malay Malaysian ground to demand for local elections together with their non-Malay Malaysian counterparts.

    The return of the dhimmi

    One may cite the inclusive language of PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat and president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang in the PR national convention as evidence that PAS and PR are not racist. But how do you reconcile their two positions — "you are not outsiders", and "you must not control the local government even if you are the majority group there"?

    It looks as though the answer is the dhimmi discourse. "Dhimmi" is the term coined for protected minorities in the Islamic state. But the example of the goodwill offered to dhimmi in Muslim empires such as the Ottoman Empire has so far failed to convince Malaysians, especially non-Muslims, about the inherent goodness of the Islamic state. Hence PAS's disastrous electoral defeat in 2004.

    One cannot help but wonder: has the PR's foolish resistance to local elections accidentally unveiled a larger lack of principles? What the PR needs now is not spin but corrective action before its credibility gets further eroded. The Nut Graph....
    py

  4. #14
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    Re: PR Common Policy Platform (PR CPP) - Zaid Ibrahim's speech during launch

    A Most Stirring Speech by Zaid Ibrahim at Pakatan Rakyat’s inaugural convention.

    April 17, 2010

    Today we take one decisive, deliberate and historic step to free our country from the consequences of BN misrule. This step is our joint agreement to a Common Policy Framework. This is our compass. This is our guiding light. This is what distinguishes us from our opponents. We must steer by this compass to arrive at our destination – which is no less and no more than the liberation of Malaysia.

    Ladies and Gentleman,

    The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Before today, our three parties took several steps — some steady, some faltering – towards the goal of our collective journey.

    Skeptics could never believe that we could attempt the journey at all. They felt we could never be fellow travelers because of our different compasses and differing destinations.
    This journey is our long march towards the liberation of our country from the consequences of 52 years of Barisan Nasional’s deviations. Their impact has caused our country to spiral downward in every sector of national life. Everywhere one looks you see the foundational structure and content of our country eaten away by the termites of the BN. Their rule has become a pestilence.

    There’s no telling the depths to which this spiral will take us. But there is every reason today to believe that the people are no longer content to be spectators at this chronicle of national decline and ruin. Enough of them have rallied to support our three parties in the effort of national liberation. And today we give them cause to hope that salvation is on hand.
    Today we take one decisive, deliberate and historic step to free our country from the consequences of BN misrule. This step is our joint agreement to a Common Policy Framework. This is our compass. This is our guiding light. This is what distinguishes us from our opponents. We must steer by this compass to arrive at our destination – which is no less and no more than the liberation of Malaysia.

    We can already hear what our critics say about us. They say we are a one-election wonder, that we are a sand castle that will topple when the next wave of public opinion hits the beach.

    The Common Policy Framework is our first response to our critics. Our second response would be when this Common Policy Framework is matched by the deeds of PR governments in states we control. This should see the Pakatan better prepared for not only the 13th general election, but also the one after that and all elections hereinafter.

    The Common Policy Framework is our path to the hearts and minds of Malaysians. We want them to back us so that we can check the downward spiral of this nation. We have not only to check, we have to reverse the slide and restore this nation to the fullness of its promises at its founding in 1957 and at its enlargement in 1963.

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    There is of course another version of the narrative of the decline of our nation. This other narrative is the narrative of the BN. This is that they are the only people who can govern this nation. They are the chosen ones. All the rest are pretenders who think they can govern and soon discover that they can’t. Only the BN has the right formula for effective governance. In recent years, perhaps, they have been a little groggy about this formula. That was why they fared badly in the last general election. Now all BN has to do is to clean up their act, change the captain, rebrand their efforts, like trumpeting their 1Malaysia concept, and the coalition will be back to its strength of old.

    They think the success of Pakatan Rakyat is temporary. They think this opposition coalition is the handiwork of a single leader, whose devious charm and charisma can hoodwink the Malaysian people for perhaps one or two elections. So if they can tie him up in knots with all sorts of legal suits, or better still, send him away to jail for a long time, then everything will go back to the way it was.

    This is the BN narrative. This is their version of reality. It is a classic case of self-delusion. Why so?

    This is simply because the BN cannot change. True, it has changed its captain. He is like a magician come to do conjuring tricks at a children’s party. But the biggest trick that he must do is that of his own disappearance. That he has to do but he cannot do. And that is the reason why the BN cannot change.

    It has a skipper that must bring about his own disappearance for change to have any meaning. There’s one thing the BN has deeply entrenched in its culture: the art of self-preservation. That culture reigns supreme in the BN. Once a BN leader gains the seat of paramount authority, it will take a political tsunami to dislodge him which was what occurred to Abdullah Badawi.

    Therefore, I say, there’s no way BN can change because the person who must initiate change exempts himself from the logic of this change. Hence whatever change he brings will be cosmetic, not substantive. But aided and abetted by a servile mainstream media, a compliant judiciary, and subservient law enforcement agencies, the headman can continue to rule. He can continue to beguile the people that he brings change, that he can cause change to happen.

    The whole exercise mistakes the activity for change for the essence of change. They are two different things. If they were the same, the blogger Raja Petra and the private investigator P. Balasubramaniam would not have to seek refuge abroad. If they were the same, Teoh Beng Hock would not have died and Nizar Jamaluddin would still be Menteri Besar of Perak. If they were the same, Kelantan would not have to consider suing the federal government for payment of oil royalties legitimately due to them.

    The BN cannot change because change would bring about its destruction. But we must not depend on the expected failure to change of the BN to convince the people that they must put us in power in Putrajaya.

    Daily the news about the plunder and waste of this country’s resources gets more and more depressing. The latest revelations put losses suffered by the country under the rule of Dr Mahathir Mohamed at a staggering RM100 billion. Those losses relate to the tangibles. What about the intangible losses such as the deformation of the judiciary, and the erosion of professionalism in the police force and civil service. Daily the consequences of these intangible losses become evident for the people to see. These consequences will arrive at a cumulative point that will see the people say, “Enough is enough. Let’s be rid of this plague.”

    Ladies and Gentleman,

    This is a game for us to lose. It is only if we lose our nerve, and drop the ball that we will fail. Nothing that our opponents can do to us can make that happen, unless we let them make it happen. So as long as we close our ranks, work together, find middle ground, and communicate with one another, and stay resolute about breaking the spell cast by a half century of BN’s rule, the prize of leadership at the national and state level will be ours for the taking. We do not have to agree on everything and on every subject, but we must learn the rules by which to disagree.

    There is another thing that the BN has not woken up to either because they are obstinate to the reality on the ground, or they are so full of arrogance and taksub, not to want to understand it. This is that Malaysia has changed. Our founding fathers struggled to conceive the birth of a new nation, whose communities knew little of each other and could not trust each other. There was a fear that the only way to allow this nation a chance at success was to have a joint venture of communities as the basis of leadership. And it was this that made the Alliance and then Barisan Nasional a success in the past.

    That reality no longer holds. Society has become much more complex and has matured through the rakyat’s sharing of common experiences over the last half century. Malaysia has changed. And we know it. No longer do race-based politics built on patronage command support from the people. Such politics only helps to foster hate, selfishness, corruption and greed. All of this was perpetuated in the name of protecting the interests of the many, but in reality was manipulated to feather the nests of a few.

    Today, Malaysians continue to respect the fact that we remain a nation of specific communities with a rich diversity of faiths, cultures, languages and traditions. We do not fear this diversity. Indeed we celebrate it. And although we accept that solutions must be found to ensure that disparities between communities must be addressed so that they do not grow to dangerous levels, the constitutional provisions on the special position of Bumiputras, and those relating to language, religion and culture must be protected.

    Malaysians now recognize that the type of politics that is needed to lead our country is one that is built on universal values and ideals, premised on the commitment to our faith and spirituality, and not instead on what our identity papers say is our race.

    Look at us. Look at your fellow delegates from the other parties. And you will see that it is Pakatan Rakyat and its parties that have a common ideology built on universal values and ideals, built on our faith and spirituality, that has a commitment to protect the Constitution, and all Malaysians so as to lead Malaysia the way Malaysians want to be led.

    It is Pas, DAP and PKR who today collectively represent the will and desire of Malaysians. We are different from them. The Malays in Pakatan are not racists, the Chinese in Pakatan are not the taukays of MCA, the Indians in Pakatan are not the gullible Indians of MIC or Makkal Sakkthi. The Dayaks and Kadazans are not the ones that belong to the BN.

    We are differerent. In short, if we in Pakatan Rakyat fail, Malaysia will fail. Because we have what it takes to deliver what a changed Malaysia wants and needs. Today marks another step in our journey to make sure that this will be so.

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Do not be overly concerned with our frailties and some inconsistencies among us. For those frailties and inconsistencies reflect the true frailties and inconsistencies of Malaysia and its communities. Our society must find its way to manage them, we must be there, at the head of that journey, pointing out the right way, leading by example and showing how it is to be done.

    To succeed we will need to accommodate. We will need to help each other and ourselves find the middle ground. We must be willing to be open to new ideas, we must be willing to trust one another, we must be pragmatic, and we must be willing to share. No different than what this country needs to do to succeed.

    I am proud to have contributed to the convention and to be standing here today. I want to thank Dato Seri Anwar for giving me the chance to initiate the first draft of the Common Policy Framework. It was the creation of a common policy framework that was the contribution that I had committed to make when I became your colleague. But this success is not mine. It is your success, and those of your leaders and your component parties who worked to make this a reality.

    Let’s build on this. Let’s not be distracted. Our journey of many miles begins with this auspicious consensus. Let’s be guided by commonly shared values and ideals premised on the values of the ordinary people of this country so that we can rescue Malaysia from the sorry state it is in today and will continue to be if we do nothing.

    We have resolved to do something. The Common Policy Framework is the compass by which we will journey to liberate the country we all love.

    Hidup Rakyat! Hidup Pakatan! Hidup Malaysia!
    py

  5. #15
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    Re: PR Common Policy Platform (PR CPP) - Zaid Ibrahim's speech during launch

    For the record I shall post my reactions to the Common Policy Framework of 2009, in my overtly partisan article "Project New Malaysia."
    I am glad to read in these columns compliments and unreserved criticism. More debate on the Common Policy Framework will provoke critical thinking further.
    A sound policy programme must be able to stand the onslaught of criticism, even malignant criticism.

    Your effort here and other critics appreciated !

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