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Bersih: PM following letter of law but ignoring its spirit

27 Jun 2019 / 15:27 H.

PETALING JAYA: Bersih 2.0 has expressed disappointment that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamd has appointed eight commissioners to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) without allowing the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) for Major Public Appointments to vet them.

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections said Mahathir followed the letter of the law but ignored the spirit and promises of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) manifesto where it clearly stated in Promise 26 that the appointment of Suhakam commissioners would be done through a parliamentary committee.

“The PSC on Major Public Appointments was already formed since December 2018 and it would have been the right thing to do to allow the PSC to vet potential candidates even if the process has not been encoded in the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999 (Act 597),” Bersih said in a statement issued today.

“To allow such a process would have shown the PM’s commitment not only to keep the promises of the manifesto but also his respect for the role of the Parliament as an effective check and balance to the executive, especially to the office of the prime minister.”

It urged Mahathir and the PH government to expedite the legislative amendments to the process by which key appointments are made.

The unbridled power that currently rest in the hands of the prime minister can be effectively checked to prevent abuses of power, it said.

“We propose a process that not only involves the PSC but also a Nomination Committee that is composed of individuals who are not involved in partisan politics to call for nominations from the public and does the first round vetting of potential candidates,” Bersih said.

“Shortlisted names would then be forwarded to the PSC to interview in public inquiries and further shortlisted for the PM and his Cabinet to select.”

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