Institutional Reforms Committee submits seven immediate proposals

Source: The Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR 19/06/2018. Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan with Dato’ Mah Weng Kwai leaves after meeting with councils of elders at Ilham Tower in Kuala Lumpur.
MALAYMAIL/Azneal Ishak.

KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 — The Institutional Reforms Committee (IRC) has submitted seven recommendations for immediate institutional reform to the Council of Eminent Persons.

However, the IRC did not disclose the nature of the recommendations submitted to the Council as the final report, including the total sum of recommendations presented, would only be known on July 15.

National Human Rights Society (Hakam) president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said the recommendations submitted to the Council in the final report next month will be separated into three categories — immediate, mid-term and long-term.

“It is not a lot of time, but we have key recommendations which we will put forward that are going to make a difference in the country.

“Our priority agenda remains the same, that is zero tolerance for corruption and appointing the right people to key positions,” Ambiga told reporters at Ilham Tower here after meeting the Council. Read more

Make it so 1MDB never happens again, says Ambiga

Source: The Malaysian Insight

Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan is one of the committee members of the Institutional Reforms Committee comprising legal experts as well as retired judges. — Picture by Azinuddin Ghazali

THE Institutional Reform Committee’s job is to initiate reforms so that something like 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) never happens again, said IRC member Ambiga Sreenevasan.

Ambiga said the committee’s task was not to investigate 1MDB, but to ensure reforms were made in institutions and agencies.

The IRC gave seven immediate recommendations to the Council of Eminent Persons, which it met today.

Ambiga said the recommendations prioritised combating corruption.

“We are not looking at the 1MDB case per se. We are looking at institutional reforms of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, and other agencies like the police and the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

“We are looking at all that because we don’t ever want to have another 1MDB in this country,” she told reporters at the Ilham Tower after meeting the council.

“The biggest issue is corruption, without a doubt, and appointing the right people to these institutions. That’s the priority,” said Ambiga, who is also the National Human Rights Society’s chairman. Read more

No more cronyism, organisations say to Ting, corporate sector

Source: The Edge Markets

PETALING JAYA (June 4): As many as 20 civil society organisations (CSOs) have urged Tan Sri Ting Pek Khiing and the corporate sector in general to uphold transparency, accountability and integrity in all development projects, regardless whether the projects are publicly, privately or jointly owned and financed.

The CSOs said Ting’s announcement of a mega project that he plans to develop on Langkawi Island without first obtaining the authorities’ approval is disconcerting while raising concerns over compliance with regulatory requirements for such a project. Read more

Ambiga, Shad Saleem members of newly-formed Institutional Reforms Committee

Source: The Malay Mail

Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan is one of the committee members of the Institutional Reforms Committee comprising legal experts as well as retired judges. — Picture by Azinuddin Ghazali

KUALA LUMPUR, May 15 ― The Council of Eminent Persons advising the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government today announced the formation of an Institutional Reforms Committee comprising legal experts as well as retired judges.

The committee members are National Human Rights Society president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, Emeritus Professor Datuk Shad Saleem Faruqi, retired Court of Appeal judge Datuk KC Vohrah, National Patriots Association president Brigadier-General (Rtd) Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji and former Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mah Weng Kwai who is also a member of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia.

“Economics reform on its own cannot bring the desired change unless accompanied by institutional reforms. Towards this end, a committee on Institutional Reforms has been formed..” the council said a statement.

The findings and recommendations of the new committee will be presented to the council before it is then shown to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Read more

Government forms Committee on Institutional Reforms

Source: The Sundaily

From left: Datuk K.C. Vohrah, Datuk Mah Weng Kwai, Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, and Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi. Image from The Sun Daily.

PETALING JAYA: The Council of Eminent Persons has announced the formation of the Committee on Institutional Reforms aimed to assist the newly-formed Pakatan Harapan government on economic and financial matters.

In a statement, the council also stated that it had appointed five prominent figures, including former Malaysian Bar president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, to sit in the reform committee.

“Economic reform on its own cannot bring the desired change unless accompanied by institutional reforms,” the statement read.

The five persons appointed into the committee were:
1. Retired Court of Appeal judge Datuk K.C. Vohrah
2. Retired Court of Appeal judge and Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) commissioner Datuk Mah Weng Kwai
3. Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan (Patriot) president Brig-Gen (Rtd) Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji
4. National Human Rights Society (Hakam) president Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan
5. Universiti Malaya Law professor Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi

Members of the committee would present its findings and recommendations on institutional reforms to the council, the statement read. Read more

Now you listen to us, NGOs tell incoming gov’t

Source: Malaysiakini

Three days before Malaysia goes to a vote, civil society groups have presented their aspirations to the incoming government.

It was time the government started listening to its people, said the organisers of today’s ‘Forum aspirasi rakyat’ (People’s aspirations forum), veterans’ NGO Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan (Patriot).

“It is no more our leaders saying, ‘You listen to us’.

“But it is for us to say to them, ‘You listen to us instead’,” said Patriot president Mohd Arshad Raji in his opening address at the Mines International Exhibition and Convention Centre (MIECC) in Seri Kembangan.

Common aspirations put forth were the need for a clear separation of powers between the judiciary, executive and legislative arms of the government, as well as for the country’s institutions to be made independent of political influence. Read more

Renewed calls for IPCMC after failure to stop custodial deaths

Source: The Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, March 2 — Civil society groups have renewed calls for the government to establish an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), calling the current Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) an organisation without “bite”.

In a public forum organised by the Bar Council Task Force on IPCMC today and in collaboration with several other human rights groups at the Bar Council’s new headquarters near Dataran Merdeka, they insisted that the EAIC had failed to stop deaths in custody.

Other participants included representatives from the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram), National Human Rights Society (Hakam), the Promotion of Human Rights Malaysia (Proham), and Eliminating Deaths and Abuse in Custody Together (EDICT). Read more

Parents, Here’s What You Can Do If Someone Sexual Harasses Your Child At A Theme Park

Source: Malaysian Digest

“Victims must find courage to speak up, lodge complaints and make police reports when sexual harassment occurs. Witnesses especially need to call out, speak out and act when we see harassment taking place. Taking pictures or video of the unacceptable behaviour is one way. Communities need to be more caring and less tolerant when it comes to harassment. Harassment is unacceptable and children, especially need to be protected. We can look out for each other. We can start with not victim-blaming and understanding that it takes courage to call out sexual harassment. With movements like #StopStreetHarrassment, #HandsOff, #MeToo and #TimesUp, I hope that the awareness will give courage for victims to call out the harassment and lodge the necessary report to the authorities.”– Robyn Choi, HAKAM Secretary-General, in advocating for every Malaysian to act together as a community to curb such incidents from recurring, instead of solely depending on the authorities to act on such matters.

Image taken from Malaysian Digest

Malaysian theme parks came under the spotlight recently after Filipino celebrity Ruffa Gutierrez posted an unfortunate account of sexual harassment her two daughters had faced at a local theme park during their holiday here.

Not only was the Gutierrez-family experience embarrassing for our country as the group of men acted like hooligans at a family-friendly establishment, but when the incident became viral, it also captured international headlines that questioned ‘Are Malaysian theme parks safe?’

While the theme park in question have assured the safety of its guests is of utmost priority and relayed they take the matter seriously, the incident has also served as an eye-opener for other parents to keep watch over their children, despite being in a family-friendly environment. Read more

Train lawyers as polling agents to fight fraud, Ambiga tells opposition

Source: The Malaysian Insight

Ambiga Sreenevasan speaks during a public forum on examining issues relating to malapportionment, gerrymandering and electoral fraud in Kuala Lumpur today. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Farhan Nazmi, February 20, 2018.

OPPOSITION parties should train lawyers to be their polling agents as they are well-versed with the law and could be “tough enough” to stand up for their candidates, said Ambiga Sreenevasan.

The National Human Rights Society (Hakam) chairperson spoke of her experience running an election watchdog in the 2013 general election, and said lawyers as polling agents would be able to detect fraud.

“I strongly urge all candidates to get good, tough election agents because they are the ones who make a difference,” she told a forum in Kuala Lumpur today.

She said the opposition lost a lot of ground in GE13 because the polling agents, counting agents and election agents were not tough enough or did not know enough.

“Some of the seats were lost because they were not asserting the rights of their candidates,” said Ambiga, who was former co-chairperson of Bersih, a civil society group advocating for free and fair elections. Read more

Less government intervention, more resources for schools to tackle bullying

Source: Malay Mail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 4 — Educators insist it is unnecessary for the government to directly tackle bullying, and that schools should instead be provided the necessary resources to address the matter.

In a report on school bullying by the National Human Rights Society (Hakam), education experts and NGOs fear this could result in government overreach.

Read more