PETALING JAYA: Even though great strides were made in the recently concluded July parliamentary session, the pace of institutional reforms is too slow and needs to be accelerated, says DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang (pix).
In a DAP dinner at Gelang Patah last night, Kit Siang commended lawmakers for playing their parts in ensuring the successful passage of the motion requiring Members of Parliament to publicly declare their assets, followed by the historic constitutional amendment to lower the voting age from 21 years to 18 years, and ending with the first reading of the long-awaited Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill giving the civil society three months for public feedback and consultation.
“These are impressive institutional reforms which were never attempted by the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration before but the pace of institutional reform is still too slow and unsatisfactory and more should be attempted in the next Parliamentary meeting which will meet for 36 days from Oct 7 to Dec 5,“ he said.
Citing an editorial in the latest issue of The Economist magazine, which urged the government to scrap its repressive laws, the Iskandar Puteri MP acknowledged the gargantuan task awaiting the government in undoing decades of damage to the country by BN, in keeping with the New Malaysia pledge of Pakatan Harapan.
“These are salutary and welcome reminders that while it is utopian to believe that six decades of abuses of power, corruption and injustices could all be undone in a year or two, it is legitimate and understandable for Malaysians to expect a greater urgency and faster pace in institutional reforms and that the Pakatan Harapan government must convince Malaysians that it is fully committed and is on track to achieve the goals of a New Malaysia, transforming the country into a top world-class nation respected by the international community for our unity, excellence, freedom, justice and integrity,“ he explained.
The editorial in The Economist, titled Malaysia’s government should scrap repressive laws while it still can – Time to bury the tools of oppression’, said restoring civil liberties is of utmost importance, whilst warning that the opposition will grow stronger if the economy “does not get going”.
“Happily, Malaysia is currently run by a coalition that is not inclined to use these sweeping powers. To be fair, when it comes to civil liberties, PH is streets ahead of Umno.
However, If PH does not get the economy going, it may wind up in opposition for a few years; if it does not refurbish Malaysia’s democracy, it may be out of the office for a generation,” it said.
Kit Siang also acknowledged that being part of the ruling PH coalition requires DAP to be more nuanced in expressing its views.
“We cannot be as outspoken and articulate as in the first four decades of DAP history when we are in the Opposition. Now that we are part of a coalition government, we must use internal channels to try to resolve our differences. This means that our we may not agree with how certain issues are being handled, like the Teoh Beng Hock or Pastor Koh and Amri Che Mat cases, but we have to use internal channels to articulate our viewpoints,“ he said.