Archive for July 15th, 2012

Wanted: Not just bersih elections but also parliamentary reforms

— Francis Loh
The Malaysian Insider
Jul 15, 2012

JULY 15 — Deputy Speaker Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jafar recently admitted that under the present system of parliamentary democracy, there does not exist a clear separation of powers between the Executive and Legislative arms of government on the one hand, and between the Executive and Judiciary on the other. It’s only ‘illusionary’, he clarified to a group of law students who visited him (The Sun, 11 July 2012).

In the case of Executive-Parliamentary relations, Wan Junaidi clarified that the ruling party is in a dominant position to control the Speaker and the House. For him, politicians no longer speak based on their conscience. Instead, the PM and members of the Cabinet yield significant influence over decisions made in the House by ‘twisting their (MPs) arms through the whip’. Therefore, it is very much the case that the Executive rules, rather than Parliament.

As for the separation of powers between the Executive and the Judiciary, Wan Junaidi admitted that the line is also blurred as the PM has a say in the appointment of judges despite the actual process of selection coming under the purview of the Judicial Appointments Commission.

However, he stressed that this was not tantamount to direct ‘interference’ by the Executive into the Judiciary, for there ‘has not been any evidence to prove any such claims made by certain parties’. One could, of course, differ from his qualification. Correct, correct, correct?

Wan Junaidi laid the blame for this state of affairs on ‘the Westminster system’, which Malaysia inherited from its colonial masters. Read the rest of this entry »