Proposed institutional reforms to carry out in phases - KRPPM

21 Mar 2024 02:40pm
Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh (centre).
Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh (centre).

KUALA LUMPUR - To ensure institutional reforms and legislative systems are implemented within a reasonable timeframe, Cross-Party Parliamentary Group of Malaysia – Integrity, Governance and Anti-Corruption (KRPPM - IGAR) has agreed that the proposed reforms should be carried out in phase.

In a press conference, its President Syed Ibrahim Syed Noh said the focus of the first phase was to be on the separation of powers between the Attorney-General (AG) and the Public Prosecutor, amendments to the Whistleblower Protection Act 2009, Parliament reform through the Parliament Services Act and the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act.

"We need to be prudent; we can't keep everything in one basket and then have trouble convincing parliamentarians to support this legislation.

"So, I leave it to the government, but we consider that the four parts can happen within this term.

"The Parliament Services Act may come into effect early, while the others can be implemented within this year, but overall, we can expect it to happen during this term," he told reporters during a press conference held at the Parliament building, here.

On March 13, 2024, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said that the government in principle agreed to the reform steps in line with the goal of dignifying the doctrine of separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches.

Amendments to the Constitution to enact a Parliament Services Act are said to be 90 per cent ready and awaiting presentation in Dewan Rakyat.

"This matter is among the most important that the government should focus on, even if there is only 10 per cent left before this effort is finalised in Parliament," Syed said.

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Commenting further, Syed said KRPPM proposes ensuring the freedom and autonomy of Parliament and empowering Parliament as a crucial check and balance institution in governance.

The government was urged not to revert to the old version of the 1963 Parliament Services Act.

He said the new parliamentary services law should ensure that control over administrative, financial and personnel matters of Parliament was vested in Parliament.

"While the emphasis in this phase will be on these four institutional reforms and laws, it does not mean that other reforms are sidelined or not given attention," Syed said.

"Each of the proposals put forth by KRPPM is interconnected and mutually reinforcing. Each suggestion requires collective action by all stakeholders."

"We also urge the Malaysian people to play a role in ensuring it becomes a shared agenda," he continued.

He further said KRPPM would continue to ensure that inputs from various representatives of the Malaysian people were taken into account to ultimately produce an effective justice system to govern this country with the high accountability entrusted by the people to all of us.

"The stability achieved will determine public and foreign investor confidence in the justice system of this country," he said.

Previously, KRPPM-IGAR presented eight demands for institutional reform, including amendments to the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010; Enacting the Procurement Act; Parliamentary Reform; Separation of Powers between the Attorney-General and the Public Prosecutor; Drafting of the Political Funding Act; Full Implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Plan 2019-2023 (NACP); MACC Reform, and Amendment to the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) Act.