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Kit Siang: Table institutional reports as White Paper in parliament

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DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang has called for the tabling of the reports of the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) and the Institutional Reform Committee (IRC) as a White Paper in Parliament.

In a statement today, Lim added that Parliament should refer it to the Caucus on Institutional Reform and Governance chaired by PKR President Anwar Ibrahim, and that this caucus should submit recommendations to Parliament within six weeks on actions that should be taken on the reports.

"When the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom ruled last month that the British Prime Minister’s suspension of Parliament for five weeks was unlawful, many Malaysians must have asked when the Malaysian judiciary would demonstrate similar independence to uphold the constitutional doctrine of the separation of powers in Malaysia," said Lim.

He cited Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat who said at the Lawasia Constitutional and Rule of Law Conference 2019 on Friday that "any attempt to undermine the strict separation of powers is an affront to democracy specifically, and to constitutionalism generally."

Tengku Maimum also declared, “No particular branch in this country is superior to one another. Only the Federal Constitution reigns supreme."

In response, Lim said: "Malaysians need to be convinced that institutional reforms are in place to uphold this important constitutional principle."

He called for the tabling of the reports as a White Paper and a six-week deadline.

"This is to ensure that the Parliamentary meeting starting tomorrow will be able to debate proposals for institutional and political reforms before it adjourns on Dec 5," said Lim, reminding his parliamentary colleagues that it was one of the five pillar-promises in the Pakatan Harapan 2018 General Election manifesto.

On Friday, also at the Lawasia Constitutional and Rule of Law Conference 2019, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he was prepared to reveal the Institutional Reform Committee (IRC) report to the public.

However, he said this could not be a unilateral decision and must be decided by all Pakatan Harapan parties which would have different agendas.

He was responding to a question by IRC member Ambiga Sreenevasan, who asked him to consider publishing the report so he could get feedback from the public.

The IRC was set up by the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) shortly after GE14 last year to identify problems, examine and propose reforms with regard to certain key institutions.

Among the institutions that the IRC evaluated were the Attorney General's Chambers (AGC), the Election Commission (EC), MACC and enforcement agencies such as the police.

The IRC report was submitted to the CEP last year, but has not been made public.

This January, de facto deputy law minister Hanipa Maidin told Parliament that the IRC made a total of 223 recommendations related to governance, integrity and corruption prevention that are now being overseen by the National Centre for Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption (GIACC).

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