FMT LETTER: From Denison Jayasooria, via e-mail
Proham welcomes the recent announcement by Dr Rais Yatim that all political parties will be given equal airtime to promote their manifestos. This is a very meaningful move in enhancing the democratic process and in line with the recommendation of the Parliamentary Select Committee on electoral reform
Proham affirms that the climate for open and responsible discussions must be encouraged and the democratic space be enlarged for open and serious discussions. Government initiatives like this must be increasingly provided for critical and dissenting views to strengthen the democratic process.
Public debates must be encouraged for the development of a healthy democratic culture and tradition. This is a hallmark of a developed nation where there is tolerance for a variety of views, thoughts and analysis that can only sustain a lively democracy
However each individual or group which exercises this right must also do so with individual or group responsibility or face liable action, in accordance with the laws of the country and a proper administration of the Rule of Law
Proham also looks forward to more detailed guidelines to be issued to ensure that the provision of more space for public debate will be fairly implemented for all political parties and the for the benefit of the voters’ choice of electoral candidates
Proham also calls on mainstream media to undertake the good initiatives of the past such as Debate Perdana which was hosted by RTM or the debates and coffee table talk of the Star. All media including the formal and new media must restrain from giving a one-sided and distorted view of the news and events.
Proham recognises that no media is truly independent. However the hall mark of a genuine functioning democracy is the freedom of the media to expose abuse and hold its leaders accountable in public interest and long term sustainable national Interest
Issued on behalf of Proham by Tan Sri Simon Sipaun, Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, Tan Sri Michael Yeoh, Prof Hamdan Adnanand Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria