Muda released manifesto ahead of state polls, calling for others to strip MB of ultimate power | Malay Mail

PETALING JAYA, July 20 — The Malaysian United Democratic Alliance party (Muda) today unveiled a bold manifesto that among other things called for the reduction of executive powers from the hands of mentoring besars and executive councillors, which is likely a criticism of the way states are currently governed even by political parties that claim to fight for progressive politics.

Its president Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said one of the top agendas of the party’s manifesto for the state polls on August 12 is the enhancement of public participation in policy-making and the decentralization of power — starting with strengthening the check-and-balance powers of the state legislature.

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“First things first [we want] is the reduction of centralized power. This centralized power means that most major policy decisions are made by the menteri besar and the excos,” he said at the launch of the party’s manifesto here.

Muda said it wants a system where “major” policy decisions are put to a vote, rather than the current practice where the menteri besar and the state executive councilors make all executive calls.

“Muda wants to propose that all major decisions, regardless of whether it is about PJD Link or the degazettement of forest reserves, be brought back to the state legislative assembly to be debated, finalized and voted on, and not just decided by a small group of political elites,” he added.

An official from the office of the Selangor menteri besar denied the allegation made by Muda.

Muda, a new party with lesser resources compared to those that make up the two main political blocs, will field eight candidates in the polls to decide who will lead Selangor, Penang, Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah, and Negeri Sembilan.

In apparent frustration, Syed Saddiq said the call to stand against Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Perikatan Nasional was a result of the former’s dilly-dally in deciding Muda’s application to formally join the coalition.

In the 15th general election, Muda saw himself as an ideological ally of the PKR-DAP-Amanah alliance but after PH formed the federal government with the corruption-tainted Barisan Nasional, the party felt sidelined. Relations between the two appeared to have soured further after Muda leaders became critical of some PH policies, which they claimed negated many of the coalition’s reform promises.

Muda’s election manifesto appears to be an extension of that criticism. Dubbed the “New Politics Manifesto”, the party pledged to continue to fight for the democratic reforms that were once a pillar of PH’s campaign, but arguably with more conviction and consistency.

The party plans to revive the campaign to restore local council elections and has proposed a state-level political funding law to curb lobbying.

“Muda understands that this is under federal jurisdiction,” Syed Saddiq said of the party’s plan to bring back the third vote.

“That is why at the state level the Muda will start a pilot project that will pave the way for this to happen.”

Muda also promised to curb rampant development and environmental degradation, two deep problems that have fueled discontent in all states, including Selangor where the main ruling party PKR has been accused of reneging on its repeated pledge to protect the state’s forests in favor of building things.

Some of the worst floods in the state have been blamed on deforestation and politicians’ obsession with pump-priming as the main driver of economic growth. In Selangor and Penang, the PH-controlled state government continues to be criticized for giving the greenlight to major infrastructure projects often at the expense of displacing cultures and local communities.

“Muda will prioritize balancing important development and environmental protection. We say this because the environment is the wealth of the people. It’s like having gold at your feet,” said Syed Saddiq.

Another key promise in Muda’s manifesto is the end of political appointments in all state businesses and agencies including local governments, another reform promise that PH once campaigned for but failed to implement in all the states it governs.

The party also proposes compulsory public declaration of assets of all elected representatives.

“The fight against corruption has to start at the local level,” said Syed Saddiq.

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