Should we decentralise PDRM?– Wan Saiful Wan Jan

Source: The Star Online

BY WAN SAIFUL WAN JAN

OVER the years, several organisations and analysts, especially those from civil society, have argued that our Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) has too much power with very little check and balance.

Wan Saiful Wan Jan – The Star Online file pic

Some of these comments are simply attempts to politicise the situation. They complain when the police act against them, but are silent when the actions are against those on the opposite side.

For example, when the police take action under the Sedition Act on those who are on their side, then the police are accused of being unfair. But when the same Act is used by the police against those whose views they disagree with, their reaction would be different.

As the body is tasked with implementing the law, these criticisms are unavoidable. The police force is bound to be criticised, or praised, by one side or the other. It is a reality of life that no one can please everyone all the time.

Read more

No academic freedom in public varsities without autonomy

Source: FMT News

PETALING JAYA: The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) has called for policies to bring about greater autonomy among Malaysia’s public universities over their own administrative affairs, in order to make academic freedom in these institutions possible.

‘’At the moment, our universities are not free to make independent decisions on governance, financial and admission matters,” IDEAS director of research Ali Salman said.

“The hiring of vice-chancellors, drafting of university budgets and determination of student numbers and profiles are subjected to the ministry of higher education’s control.”

“The more dependent a university is on other institutions, the more questionable the integrity of knowledge generated will be. In order to safeguard academic freedom, true autonomy is the way forward for Malaysian universities,’’ he said in statement. Read more

Civil societies want more say in UN graft convention review process

Source: FMT News

PETALING JAYA: Civil societies have urged Putrajaya to allow them to take a greater part in the review process of the country’s implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).

This comes after the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), the Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) and Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) were invited recently to participate in the review process for Article 13 of the convention which deals with participation of societies.

In a joint-press conference, C4 executive director Cynthia Gabriel said it came as a surprise to learn from civil societies in other countries that there was no rule which confined participation of civil societies to one Article. Read more

IDEAS: Whistleblowers Protection Act too weak to protect public

Source: FMT News

IDEAS CEO Wan Saiful Wan Jan - Pic from FMT News

IDEAS CEO Wan Saiful Wan Jan – Pic from FMT News

PETALING JAYA: The extremely low number of whistleblowers coming forward to report on any wrongdoings in this country is due to weaknesses in the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010, says IDEAS chief executive officer Wan Saiful Wan Jan.

Referring to a new policy paper titled “A critical look into the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010” presented by IDEAS board member and past president of the Malaysian Bar Christopher Leong, the think tank chief said there are severe gaps in what should be reported and what is currently being reported in the country.

“Many experts can agree that whistleblowing is one of the best ways to discover corruption. In countries like the US, as much as 46% of fraud cases were discovered due to whistleblowers.

“However, in Malaysia, the numbers are extremely low. Only 28 out of 8,953 complaints made to the MACC in 2012 were by whistleblowers. This is approximately 0.3% of cases,” Wan Saiful said in a statement. Read more

Rekindling Tunku’s commitment to liberty and justice — Tunku Zain Al-‘Abidin

Source: The Malay Mail Online

BY TUNKU ZAIN Al-‘ABIDIN

opinion-clipart-k12118272FEBRUARY 10 — Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al Haj declared in the Proclamation of Independence of the Federation of Malaya, and then the Proclamation of Malaysia, that this nation of ours will “forever be a nation based on the principles of liberty and justice”.

Right from the beginning, liberty and justice were the twin principles that were to inspire our nation — sentiments repeated across his many speeches and writings, as well as those of other leaders of the era such as Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman or Datuk Mohamad Said.

The Rukunegara talks about “guaranteeing a liberal approach towards her rich and varied cultural traditions.”  Those who fail to realise these values are the founding philosophy of our country should read the documents instead of distorting and misinterpreting selected words of the Constitution.

Unfortunately, politicians everywhere have lost the ability to lead, and have instead succumbed to winning simply through populism, as the votes for Brexit and Donald Trump have shown.  My fear is that we will see a greater lurch towards populism as we get closer to the 14th General Election.

Exploiting ethnic and religious tensions is among the easiest ways to make political gains, notwithstanding helpful electoral boundaries and privileged access to media which will pliantly obscure the elephants in the room. Read more

Public Forum: Supporting the MACC in fighting corruption in Malaysia

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in recent times has had phenomenal success in uncovering large corruption scandals which include the arrests of several high profile government officials. Given their good work, it is important that civil society and the public rally together in support of the MACC.

On 26 January 2017, the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) will be organising a public forum titled “Supporting the MACC in fighting corruption in Malaysia” at the Royal Lake Club, Kuala Lumpur, 9.30 am to 12.30 pm.

This public forum is part of IDEAS’ on-going nationwide campaign #Nyahkorupsi which advocates institutional reforms to combat corruption and promote good governance. The public forum will discuss how the public and the civil society alike can support the MACC in its fight against corruption. We will also launch a signature drive to end corruption in Malaysia.

Speakers include:

  • Cynthia Gabriel, Centre for Combatting Corruption and Cronyism (C4)
  • Dato’ Akhbar Satar, Transparency International Malaysia
  • Jeffrey Phang, Friends of Kota Damansara
  • Wan Saiful Wan Jan, IDEAS
  • Khairil Yusoff, Sinar Project

Join the fight against corruption today! Register at https://supportingmacc.eventbrite.com/

 

Ideas: Why is Felda paying so much for Indonesian company?

Source: FMT News

There are lots of questions about the deal and the premium price fuels speculation, says Ideas CEO. Pic taken from FMT News.

There are lots of questions about the deal and the premium price fuels speculation, says Ideas CEO. Pic taken from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) must answer why it chose to pay a high price to acquire PT Eagle High Plantations.

Wan Saiful Wan Jan, who heads the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas), said the main focus right now is the risks the deal may pose to taxpayers.

“It is mysterious to me how better shareholder value will be created when it looks like Felda is paying a very high price for Eagle High’s shares.

“Felda has to answer why they agreed to this high premium. There is already a lot of questions about the deal and this premium adds to the negative speculation about it,” he said in a statement today. Read more

Perkasa tells IDEAS more children won’t result in poverty

Source: FMT News

Slamming the think tank's Azrul Mohd Khalib, Perkasa says his statements on Terengganu's money-for-births plan is not backed by evidence.

Slamming the think tank’s Azrul Mohd Khalib, Perkasa says his statements on Terengganu’s money-for-births plan is not backed by evidence.

PETALING JAYA: Perkasa has slammed Azrul Mohd Khalib, of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), for criticising the Terengganu government’s cash incentive programme to encourage more childbirths in the state.

In a statement, the Malay rights group’s Islamic affairs chairman Amini Amir Abdullah said Azrul’s take on the matter was not supported by “evidence, data and statistics”.

Perkasa, Amini added, also believed Azrul, who is the institute’s external relations manager, was making wild assumptions.

These included Azrul’s statement that Malaysians should learn from the “bitter lessons” of other countries where unplanned pregnancies and policies, which encouraged having children beyond one’s means, have had detrimental effects. Read more

Cash incentives for births a bad idea, says IDEAS

Source: FMT News

It is irresponsible to encourage people to have more children than they can afford, says think tank on Terengganu government’s plan to offer higher payments for more births. Pic from FMT News.

It is irresponsible to encourage people to have more children than they can afford, says think tank on Terengganu government’s plan to offer higher payments for more births. Pic from FMT News.

PETALING JAYA: The Terengganu government’s cash incentive programme to encourage more childbirths in the state could lead to a cycle of poverty, says the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS).

IDEAS external relations manager Azrul Mohd Khalib said he disagreed with the programme.

Azrul said encouraging families to have more children was not a problem, but encouraging them to do so when they could not afford it was irresponsible and dangerous.

He said the programme’s prescribed one-off RM500 cash incentive for the eighth and consecutive child did not deal with the consequences of having children beyond a person’s means. Read more

Think tank: Shahidan’s suggestion discriminatory, racist

Source: FMT News

IDEAS slams the federal minister's suggestion that UNHCR cards only be issued to ethnic Rohingya Muslim refugees in the country. Pic taken from FMT News

IDEAS slams the federal minister’s suggestion that UNHCR cards only be issued to ethnic Rohingya Muslim refugees in the country. Pic taken from FMT News

PETALING JAYA: The call by federal minister Shahidan Kassim for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) cards to be issued only to Rohingya Muslim refugees goes against human rights values, says a think tank.

Speaking to FMT, Institute of Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) external relations manager Azrul Mohd Khalib said Shahidan’s statement was also discriminatory and racist.

“If we really want to help those who have fled their countries because of wars, oppression and conflicts, we have to look at the issue without a racial or religious lens.

“The country’s reputation will be better off if we hold firm to principles of rationality, human rights and close communications with other countries.” Read more