Archive for November 24th, 2007

Ambiga as commissioner to ensure credibility and legitimacy of Royal Commission of Inquiry

In completely excluding the Bar Council members as members of the Royal Commission of Inquiry in the Lingam Tape, the government is only undermining its own case and cause that it is concerned about the restoration of national and international confidence in the independence and integrity of the judiciary.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said yesterday that there was no possibility that Bar Council members could become royal commissioners themselves.

He said: “There is no chance of that happening. How can they act fairly and be unbiased if they have already marched against the judiciary. They have already made their stand.”

This is classic perverse illogic. The 2,000 lawyers who participated in the historic “March for Justice” in Putrajaya on 26th September 2007 did not march against the judiciary. They marched against a judiciary which is subservient, decadent and corrupt. But they also marched for an independent, honest and incorruptible judiciary.

Going by Nazri’s perverse illogic, isn’t the Executive itself compromised by the 19-year history of a tainted judiciary, because of the acts of omission and commission by the Executive, which should render the Ministers unfit and unqualified to exercise powers to appoint members of the Royal Commission concerned about the independence and integrity of the judiciary?

Cabinet Ministers cannot feign innocence in the nearly two-decade-long ravages and degradation of the Judiciary as they are fully part of the process in the undermining of the independence of the judiciary and the undermining of the fundamental doctrine of the Separation of Powers among the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary.

Let good sense prevail. The Bar Council should not only be allowed to take part in the Royal Commission hearings, the Bar Council President Ambiga Sreenevasan should be seriously considered as a member of the Royal Commission to ensure its acceptability, credibility and legitimacy. Read the rest of this entry »


IPCMC Bill – make public after Cabinet Wednesday to give MPs and civil society at least two weeks to study

The current 42-day budget meeting of Parliament scheduled to end on Dec. 13 has been extended by three days till Dec. 19 to debate a spate of bills, seven of which had been presented for first reading while several others have yet to be brought to the House.

One of the bills which have yet to be presented for first reading but which the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has promised would be debated before the end of the current parliamentary meeting is the long-delayed Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill proposed by the Royal Police Commission as the most important of its 125 recommendations to create an incorruptible, efficient, professional world-class police service.

The Royal Police Commission had proposed the IPCMC as the centre-piece of its police reform proposals to achieve what it recommended should be the three core objectives of the Police – to keep crime low, eradicate corruption in the police force and uphold human rights.

The Royal Police Commission placed such importance and priority on its IPCMC proposal that it even took the trouble to include a draft IPCMC Bill in its Report to facilitate its establishment, which it envisaged should begin to be operational by May 2006.

However, the Police mounted a strong opposition to the IPCMC proposal threatening even an open revolt in the initial stages, with some top police officers blatantly displaying insubordination to the political masters of the day.

More than 18 months have elapsed from the timeline proposed by the Royal Police Commission for the establishment of the IPCMC, and we are still waiting for the proposed IPCMC bill to surface into the public domain.

The question is whether the final IPCMC Bill when presented to Parliament will still be recognized as basically constituting the external oversight mechanism to check police abuses of power as proposed by the Royal Police Commission or so shorn of the substantive features and “teeth” of the IPCMC proposed by the Royal Police Commission as to be a completely different creature altogether. Read the rest of this entry »


Aligning Private Aspirations with Public Good

by M. Bakri Musa

Bravo to Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar Mohamad Hasan! In awarding RM25,000 to each first-class honors graduate of local public universities, he clearly demonstrated where the priorities should be. He went further and forgave the students’ loans if they were given by his state agency.

To put that cost in perspective, at a total of about RM300,000 it is less than the inflated cost of one corrupt school laboratory construction project. Yet the benefit far exceeds that of any school computer lab, even if it were well built. As a bonus, unlike a poorly built building, this award program poses no danger to anyone.

Malay leaders, especially those in UMNO, continually lament on the generally backward status of our people despite decades of ever increasingly generous preferential treatment. Unfortunately that is all they are capable of doing — lamenting. Occasionally a bright leader might emerge who in a show of bravado would chastise and upbraid us by degrading our cultural heritage and questioning our biological endowment.

Only very rarely would a leader like Mohamad Hasan do something right, like having an appropriate mechanism in place and aligning the incentive system that would encourage the development of those qualities that we desire in our people. My complimenting Hasan would I hope encourage other leaders to follow his fine example. Read the rest of this entry »