Expedite reforms or you’ll lose credibility, Ambiga warns PH

Former Malaysian Bar president Ambiga Sreenevasan suggests that PH set up a transition team to kickstart reforms.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government will lose credibility if it fails to carry out reforms as outlined in its election manifesto, former Malaysian Bar president Ambiga Sreenevasan said.

She said the people voted for PH instead of Barisan Nasional as it had promised to promote democracy and uphold human rights.

“If PH keeps backtracking on the promises, it will lose credibility,” she told a forum entitled “Abolition of the Death Penalty: Rationale and Implications” organised by the Malaysian Bar here this evening.

The human rights lawyer said it was also important for this region that Malaysia succeeds as a vibrant democracy.

She also suggested that PH set up a transition team, which comprised government representatives, civil society members and the Malaysian Bar, to kickstart all reforms as promised in the manifesto.

“This committee will help the government explain to the public its reform agenda.”

She said there were already concerns that the reform agenda would grind to a halt.

Ambiga said it would be disgraceful if PH could not get a simple piece of legislation, like abolishing the death penalty, approved, given that 142 countries had already repealed it.

“What is our excuse?”

Ambiga said she still hoped the government would table the bill in the Dewan Rakyat to repeal the death penalty on Dec 10, which is the World Human Rights Day.

“Give it as a present to the people of Malaysia.”

Ambiga said there had been enough consultations and arguments for and against capital punishment.

“No need for further consultations. You cannot run the government by referendum.”

She said the government needs to abolish the death penalty first but could consider retaining the punishment in the “rarest of rare cases” later.

The Cabinet made a decision on Oct 10 that the death penalty in all laws in this country should be abolished.