KUALA LUMPUR: The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) today welcomed the formation of the committee on institutional reforms by the Council of Eminent Persons.
Aira Azhari, coordinator of the Democracy and Governance Unit of IDEAS said in a statement that they agreed with the council that without institutional reforms, economic reforms on their own would not bring meaningful change.
IDEAS suggested five areas of reform that the committee should look at:
* Separating the offices of the attorney-general (AG) and the public prosecutor;
* Separating the legal and judicial services to prevent conflicts of interest over the presiding of cases;
* Instituting an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC);
* Empowering Parliament through an allocated budget, the establishment of Parliamentary Select Committees and official recognition of the opposition; and
* Strengthening the independence of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
Aira said: “We are pleased that the new government has recognised the urgency of institutional reforms for Malaysia’s future. We recommend the committee look very seriously at these five areas of reform, which have been advocated by IDEAS for a long time.
“In the areas of AG and MACC reform, IDEAS has produced a policy paper and a memorandum. We have also published a policy paper on police decentralisaiton and spoken in conferences advocating for parliamentary reform.”
Aira was optimistic about Malaysia’s future now that both institutional and economic reforms were high on the new government’s priority list.
“Considering the urgency of these reforms, we hope that they will see the light of day within the first 100 days of this new government’s administration,” Aira added.
IDEAS also applauded the appointment of “respected and credible individuals” into the committee. The five who were appointed to recommend measures on institutional reforms are: National Human Rights Society president Ambiga Sreenevasan, emeritus professor Shad Saleem Faruqi, retired Court of Appeal judge KC Vohrah, National Patriots Association president Brig-Gen (Rtd) Mohamed Arshad Raji and Suhakam commissioner and former Court of Appeal judge Mah Weng Kwai .