C - Political Reform C00. POLITICAL REFORM

C06. Restore the dignity of the Parliament

In progress
Jun 2018

Agong consents to Thomas as AG, Apandi sacked

Malaysiakini June 05, 2018

Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V has given his consent to the appointment of Tommy Thomas as the new attorney-general. Comptroller of the Royal Household Wan Ahmad Dahlan Abdul Aziz said His Majesty had, on the advice of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, given his consent to the appointment according to Article 145 (1) of the Federal Constitution.

“The Yang di-Pertuan Agong also called on all Malaysians to accept that the appointment of the attorney-general should not create religious or racial conflict as every Malaysian should be fairly treated regardless of race and religion,” he said. In a statement dated June 4 and issued by Istana Negara to Bernama early this morning, Wan Ahmad Dahlan said the appointment would continue to preserve the special rights and privileges of the Malays and Bumiputeras, as well as the status of Islam as the federal religion. “After taking into account the opinions of the Malay Rulers on (i) the appointment of attorney-general, (ii) the rights of Bumiputeras and (iii) the roles of the Council of Rulers as stated under Article 153 of the Federal Constitution, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong also consented to Apandi Ali’s termination of service as attorney-general by the federal government,” he said. Wan Ahmad Dahlan also said that Sultan Muhammad V had expressed his disappointment and worry about inaccurate and negative media reports of late which could threaten peace and harmony in the country. “His Majesty said that he has an obligation to uphold the Federal Constitution and preserve the special rights of the Malays and Bumiputeras, as well as to protect Islam,” he added. Dr Mahathir Mohamad had recently proposed to nominate renowned lawyer Thomas as attorney-general to replace Apandi.


Jun 2018

PH strategist: Get an AG first, then change the process

Free Malaysia Today June 04, 2018

A Pakatan Harapan strategist has called for calm about changes to the process of appointing an Attorney-General, saying the system in place must be followed in order to uphold an election pledge to choose an MP as the Attorney General. Speaking to FMT, he said: “We can’t expect the current AG (Apandi Ali) to commit to the reforms we want. So whoever is appointed must start the process.” That was the reason a new candidate for the post “must be someone who can deliver on reforms to the structure of the Attorney-General’s Chambers”.

Criticism has arisen in the wake of news reports speculating that prominent constitutional expert Tommy Thomas has been nominated for appointment as Attorney-General. At the same time, there has been growing pressure on Apandi to resign, and also for the new government to terminate his contract immediately. Rais said: “It cannot be a case of abracadabra and everything happens like magic. We’ve inherited a system and we must follow due process. We hope people can understand that not everything can be done in one day, but we will fulfill our promises” He acknowledged that Pakatan Harapan had promised that the AG should be appointed from among MPs, and that a separation made of the twin powers of the AG as legal adviser to the government and that of Public Prosecutor. However, this reform was not part of those promised within the first 100 days. “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” he said. The people understand that some promises were to be delivered in 100 days, and others to be carried out within the five-year term of the new government. Even so due process must be followed, said Rais, who is a strategist for PPBM. He said that in some cases, the new government could not hold off on filling certain positions because of the needs of the nation, such as the appointment of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief Shukri Abdull without obtaining parliamentary approval as had been called for in the manifesto. Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto calls for the separation of the twin roles of legal adviser and Public Prosecutor, appointment of Attorney-General from among MPs, as a Cabinet minister to advise the government on legal matters. There have been growing calls for Apandi to resign, after the new government ordered him to take leave. Apandi is on a three-year contract with the government, which was renewed shortly before the general election.

PROMISE IN-JEOPARDY OF BEING BROKEN: moved to sub-promise C06-09

May 2018

Restore the dignity of the Parliament


Parliament is an important institution to check executive powers. The institution of Parliament must have sufficient infrastructure and funding. The Pakatan Harapan Government will reintroduce the Parliamentary Services Act 1963, with improvements in certain matters so that the Act is suitable for today’s environment. The Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat and the President of Dewan Negara will be members whose integrity and credibility are respected by their peers. The Speaker of Dewan Rakyat and President of Dewan Negara must retire from partisan politics as soon as they accept their posts. To ensure that their decisions are fair, a special committee will be formed to receive and examine complaints from members of parliament. The Leader of the Opposition will be granted the status and provisions equivalent to a Federal Minister. We will provide funding based on a transparent formula to all members of the Dewan Rakyat so that they can carry out the responsibilities in their respective constituencies and to run their service centers. To enable Parliament to play its proper role, sittings will take place at a minimum of 100 days per year. We will institutionalize the Select Committee system in Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara, complete with suitable provisions and appropriate support staff to enable them to function effectively. Temporary Committees can also be created for ad hoc matters. A Dewan Rakyat Select Committee will be established to monitor every Ministry, with the power to call Ministers and senior officials to testify. Key national positions such as appointments to the Human Rights Commission, Election Commission of Malaysia, the Malaysian Anti- Corruption Commission, and Judicial Appointments Commission must be approved by a suitable parliamentary committee. This will reduce the ability of the Prime Minister to intervene in these important appointments. Important bodies such as the Attorney General’s Chambers, MACC, Bank Negara, the Securities Commission, and the National Audit Department shall be liable to be called by the appropriate parliamentary committee. The establishment of informal groups in Parliament also will be encouraged to allow exchange of views between members of Parliament. These include groups such as Caucuses and All Party Parliamentary Groups which can also involve representatives of civil society who are not a member of parliament. The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee will be reserved for an opposition member of parliament. To ensure that the people and all stakeholders can be engaged in the policy making process, the Pakatan Harapan Government will start the culture of producing Green Papers so that we can stimulate discussions. We will also produce White Papers to announce major government policies before a new Act is introduced in Parliament. Every week, 30 minutes will be allocated for Prime Minister’s Questions in the Dewan Rakyat. The Dewan Negara will be empowered so that it can play the proper role to check and balance the Dewan Rakyat. We will ensure that the number of Senators appointed by the states is always higher than those appointed by the Federal Government so that the interest of the states are always protected. In both Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara, specific time will be allocated for: • Opposition party agenda • Questions to the Ministers for each Ministry which is mandatory for the respective Ministers or Deputy. • Debating at Committee level the reports from Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM), the Auditor General, Public Accounts Committee, and the annual report of Government-Linked Investment companies (GLICS) and Petronas. To ensure transparency and avoid abuse of power, on an annual basis, the Pakatan Harapan Government will publish the full list of directorships held by Members of Parliament in state-owned enterprises at the federal or state levels, and all private companies, or as a consultant, together with the amount of allowances and other payments they receive.