“IRC Report: Why the Secrecy?” was the first HAKAM forum of 2020, held on 18 January 2020 at the KL and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall. The well-attended forum started at 10:00 am and was led by a panel of distinguished guests, who all had been involved and well-informed of the IRC process; Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan (IRC member and former President of HAKAM), Ms. Siti Kasim (Maju), and Mr. Sevan Doraisamy (Suaram) and the panel was moderated by Dato’ Dr. Gurdial Singh Nijar (HAKAM President). The presentations of the forum speakers were followed by a Q&A session, and the forum ended at 12:00 pm.
In October last year, prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the confidential report by the IRC and its seven recommendations that have been passed to the quasi-official Council of Eminent Persons can only be made public once all Pakatan Harapan (PH) component parties agree to it.
Key points from the forum on the issue of the release of the IRC Report to the public included:
Dato’ Ambiga suggested a pilot pilot project by “releasing just one set of recommendations [by IRC] and see whether the government falls down the next day.”
Dato’ Ambiga said she does not know the real reason why PH did not want it to be released but she would “charitably” assume that it is because of public and voters’ perception towards the already much-criticised administration.
By withholding the report, the government has denied the public and their own supporters the opportunity to be involved in making the country a better place, something that was promised by PH when they rolled out their election manifesto before 2018 election.
Siti Kasim pointed out that transparency is the cornerstone of good governance, hence the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government should make public the Institutional Reforms Committee (IRC) report.
Sevan suggested that all CSO and NGOs who have contributed to the making of the report, can release their own recommendations to the IRC, which in effect is a major part of what the IRC has referred to in its process, and this way the public can have access to the institutional problems pointed out and recommended reforms.
Dato’ Dr. Gurdial mentioned that HAKAM has been following up the release of the Report with the PM, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and will continue to do so until the people can know the content of the report.
HAKAM wishes to thank everyone who came to the forum and the media for covering the event. See you all next time!
The Institutional Reform Committee (IRC) finalised their report in June 2018, with seven recommendations for revamping the structure of judiciary appointments; limiting the concentration of executive power on a single individual; abolition of oppressive legislation, namely the Anti-Fake News Act 2018 and the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012; reform in enforcement and government agencies; parliamentary reforms; and vetting processes for key public appointments with the aim of achieving a corruption-free society, according to IRC member and former HAKAM President, Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasaan.
The IRC, which falls under the Council of Eminent Persons, comprises retired Court of Appeal judges Datuk KC Vohrah, Mah, Ambiga, National Patriots Association president Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji, and constitutional law expert Prof Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi.
The report then was submitted to the Council of Eminent Persons. However, the report has not yer been released to the public. You can read further on the secrecy surrounding the report and why it is important for the public to know the findings of the IRC in the piece written by HAKAM President, Dato’ Dr. Gurdial Singh Nijar. The importance of the findings has prompted HAKAM to hold a forum discussion on the secrecy of the IRC report, with eminent speakers to discuss aspects of the IRC, the reasons given for keeping the findings and recommendations from the public, and how to push for reform in Malaysia.
The speakers on the forum include, lawyer, activist and Founder of Malaysians for Justice and Unity (MAJU), Ms. Siti Kasim, former HAKAM President and member of IRC, Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasaan, and Executive Director of SUARAM, Sevan Doraisamy. The session will be moderated by HAKAM President, Dato’ Dr. Gurdial Singh Nijar.
There must be a better way for the authorities to handle children who commit criminal offences, says Paulsen. Pic from FMT News
PETALING JAYA: Lawyers for Liberty executive director Eric Paulsen has asked why the home ministry is treating children like hardcore criminals by detaining them under the Prevention of Crime Act (Poca) and Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).
He explained that these two laws are too harsh for children and are supposed to be used against serious offenders like terrorists or hardcore criminals.
“This is shocking. Surely there must be a better way for the authorities to handle these children who commit criminal offences. You can charge them under ordinary laws.
“Poca has detention without trial, which means somebody can be locked up for two years and another two years without evidence. It is similar to the Internal Security Act (ISA).
“As for Sosma, even though there is a trial, pending the trial, the child is not able to get bail. This can go on for many years,” he told FMT. Read more →
Human rights advocates urge that capital punishment be removed not just for drug trafficking offences, but for all crimes currently punishable by death. Pic from FMT News.
PETALING JAYA: Human rights groups have urged the government to be bold and abolish the mandatory death penalty in its entirety.
In applauding the Cabinet decision to amend Section 39(B) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 to include a clause providing discretionary powers to the courts in sentencing drug traffickers, they said capital punishment was not right.
Amnesty International, Lawyers for Liberty and Suara Rakyat Malaysia all agreed that there was no evidence to show the death penalty reduced crime.
They called on the government to make the anticipated removal of the mandatory death penalty for drug offences the first step towards complete abolition of that particular form of punishment.
“Malaysia is one of some 30 countries that still use the death penalty, including mandatory death penalty, which remains one of the most abhorrent methods of punishing crime,” said Amnesty International Malaysia executive director Shamini Darshini. Read more →
SUARAM executive director Sevan Doraisamy – Pic from FMT News
PETALING JAYA: Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) has slammed the rearrest of two teenagers in connection with the S Balamurugan case, calling the continued detention an attempt to silence potential witnesses to Balamurugan’s death.
In a statement today, Suaram executive director Sevan Doraisamy said the chain remand also painted the police as an institution that “permits violence in detention and protects those who murder detainees”.
The youths, Kanapathy Perathapan and Ang Kian Kok, both 16, were arrested together with Balamurugan on Feb 6. On Feb 8, Balamurugan was found dead at the North Klang district police headquarters.
According to his lawyers, at his remand hearing on Feb 7, Balamurugan was weak and unable to walk, had bruises on his face, was bleeding from his nose and mouth, and vomited blood. His lawyer also said Balamurugan had been assaulted by the police. Read more →
Suaram merekodkan peningkatan 5 kali ganda individu disiasat, ditahan atau didakwa mengikut Akta Hasutan berbanding tahun lalu walaupun Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak pernah berjanji memansuhkannya. – Gambar fail The Malaysian Insider, 31 Disember, 2015.
Tahun 2015 menyaksikan tekanan terbesar diterima penentang atau mereka yang berbeza pendapat dengan pentadbiran Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak dan satu daripada kumpulan hak asasi manusia terkemuka negara memberi amaran ia boleh menjadi lebih buruk pada 2016.
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) berkata, amaran keras itu muncul ketika perdana menteri berdepan tekanan supaya meletak jawatan susulan salah urus tadbir 1Malaysia Development Berhad 1MDB (1MDB) dan wang RM2.6 bilion yang disalurkan ke dalam akaun peribadinya. Read more →