At Bersih Congress, civil society leaders berate govt for delaying key reforms

Former Bersih leader Datuk S. Ambiga criticised the unity government today for delaying crucial reforms, reminding its leaders of their past commitment to Bersih’s struggle for institutional change when they were in the Opposition.

(MMO) – Ambiga highlighted several issues, including the need to limit the prime minister’s tenure to two terms, address statelessness, establish the Independent Police Complaints of Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), ensure parliamentary oversight for the appointment of enforcement agency heads, the need to abolish draconian laws and improve the handling of the kidnapping case involving Hindu mother M. Indira Gandhi’s daughter, among others.

“Secondly, why do we still have the Sedition Act? We were fighting against it for the longest time. This government has been fighting it. Once people get into power they love it. Why? I don’t understand. The Sedition Act must go,” Ambiga said, also listing the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 and the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 as some of the “very old” legislations that must be abolished.

“These are the reforms we fought together with members of the current government. We must insist on this. No reason for the government to drag its feet,” she added.

Ambiga also criticised the act of “weaponising the MACC” for political needs, adding that the appointment of the Chief Commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) must go through the Parliament.

In her speech, she also repeated the call to form the IPCMC, stressing that the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) does not have any enforcement powers. Ambiga said that the IPCMC is important as more accountability is needed when enforcement officers are allowed to have direct contact with the public.

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