7 Thrust 3: Empowering Malaysians
7.1 Political Reforms- Democracy Now
Five decades on, democracy as practised in Malaysia today is little more than a shade of its former glory as various key public institutions have been routinely compromised by an unchecked Federal Government. Thus, Pakatan Rakyat is committed to immediately implementing the following reforms:
To revoke all existing emergency proclamations and repeal all laws that provide for detention without trial, as outlined in the draft Emergency Revocation Act (Akta Pemansuhan Darurat) submitted by Pakatan Rakyat in the March 2011 parliamentary session.
To restructure the Public Complaints Bureau (Biro Pengaduan Awam) into an Ombudsman institution.
To place key public institutions including the Auditor-General’s Department, Department of Statistics, Judicial Appointments Commission, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (SPRM), the Election Commission (SPR), and the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM), and an Ombudsman institution under the purview of Parliament.
To ensure freedom of the media by removing all discretionary licensing requirements via the repeal of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984. In lieu of this, an independent and self-regulating media council will be put in place.
Radio Televisyen Malaysia (RTM) as an institution will be managed by media professionals, based on the example of the BBC, and placed under the purview of Parliament.
To restore academic freedom and autonomy of Malaysian universities by repealing the University and University Colleges Act (AUKU) 1971, thereby freeing students from the stranglehold of the Student Affairs Department (HEP). Leadership of public universities will be based on merit.
To abolish the Official Secrets Act (OSA) and enact a Freedom of Information Act at all levels of government, equipped with the necessary infrastructure. This will ensure access to all information of public interest, with the exception being matters genuinely connected to national security.
A white paper on strategic defence issues and geopolitical challenges will be prepared.
Procurement shall be governed by strict spending procedure to weed out wastage and mark ups.
Reduce defence development expenditure by 20% and increase defence ersonnel and soldiers’ salary by 5% and an improved after service safety net.
While the reforms listed above are far from exhaustive, Pakatan Rakyat believes that these areas present the greatest opportunity to return the country’s democratic practise to health.
7.2 Sabah and Sarawak: Firm Focus on East Malaysia
Despite being equal partners with Malaya during the formation of Malaysia nearly half a century ago, it is evident that Sabah and Sarawak has not enjoyed the level of development and prosperity that rightfully belongs to East Malaysia.
Based on the additional income acquired through the 20 percent oil royalty reserved for Sabah and Sarawak, Pakatan Rakyat envisions the following:
Improving the existing road networks and providing better access to rural communities. For example, until this day, Sarawak’s first trunk road from Kuching to Lawas is still poorly maintained. Pakatan Rakyat is committed to upgrading this crucial infrastructural link for the benefit of all Sarawakians;
Strengthening the electrical grid network infrastructure to reduce the System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) levels in Sabah, while refocusing priorities from large hydroelectric dams to sustainable and efficient micro hydro power plants and solar farms for all rural communities in Sarawak;
Enhancing education and skills development through increasing broadband access by 2015;
Revamping the existing flying doctors service and emergency medical services in Sarawak via an additional allocation of RM100 million.
Pakatan Rakyat will ensure that the skills and talents of Sabahans and Sarawakians will be used as far as possible to implement these ideas.
7.3 Youths- The Forefront of Change
Pakatan Rakyat recognizes the crucial role that the youth play in realising a better and more democratic Malaysia.
Pending a thorough review and comprehensive investigation on the expenditure and curriculum structure, the National Service programme will be replaced with a schoolbased extracurricular or community programmes. The RM 747 million, as was allocated to the National Service in the previous year, will instead be channelled into this new initiative.
A total amount of RM100 million will be allocated for a Youth Choice programme (Pilihan Anak Muda), involving Malaysians under 30 years old, to implement projects and programmes of their choice through a balloting process.
RM50 million will be allocated to a special fund to promote youth involvement in creativity and in the creation of more recreational spaces for young people.
Pakatan Rakyat will also ensure that all future housing projects under the Prime Minister’s Department (JPM) and the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (KPKT), with the cooperation of local governments, will be allocated sufficient space for sports and recreational activities and better maintenance of existing facilities.
[Pakatan Rakyat Budget 2012 released by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on behalf of PR in Kuala Lumpur on 4th October 2011. Part 8 of 10]
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