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Friday, September 16, 2011

Nurul: Include opposition in reform process

Sulaiman Kamal | 1:18 AM | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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The PKR vice-president welcomes Najib's wide-ranging reforms but wants the premier to engage the opposition when making the much needed reforms.
PETALING JAYA: PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar welcomed various reforms proposed by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak today as it would help the nation progress but warned that the premier should engage the opposition in the process.
“To his credit this is a step in the right direction, albeit a small step. I urge him to include the opposition when making much needed reforms for the country,” she said.
Nurul, who is also the Lembah Pantai MP, added that constructive engagement was necessary to put Malaysia back on track again.
She said that it was crucial that the drastic changes proposed by Najib were meaningful and lasting.

“Malaysians should not be subjected to reintroduction of draconian legislation in any guise or form,” she said.
Nurul further said that Najib should also include comprehensive reforms to the electoral system as demanded by polls watchdog Bersih 2.0 and others in his proposed changes.
She also pointed out that Najib’s pledge to revoke the proclamations of emergency had come just five months after the rejection of the Emergency Revocation Bill which she had sponsored during the April parliamentary sitting.
She was also quick to request to the prime minister to ensure there are no hindrances in her application for daily newspaper Utusan Rakyat, in view of the promise by Najib to make changes to the powerful Printing Presses and Publications Act.
Najib’s Malaysia Day message earlier today was filled with many surprises, including his decision to abolish the Internal Security Act (ISA) 1960. Two new laws will be introduced to safeguard peace and order in place of the repealed ISA.
The prime minister also announced that the government would repeal the Banishment Act 1959 and review other laws to be in line with current needs.
A comprehensive study will also be carried out on the Restricted Residence Act 1993 and the Printing Presses and Publication Act 1984 where annual renewals would be done away with, and replaced with issuance of licence until it is revoked.
He also said that three Emergency declarations will also be lifted. Once that is done, ISA-like preventive law Emergency Ordinance will also lapse.
Limited reforms only
In another development, another PKR vice-president, N Surendran, called Najib’s reforms as being vague and limited.
He was also disappointed that Najib had not offered any recognition whatsoever to the historic struggle of civil society and the political opposition in their struggle for a free Malaysia.
“That the government has finally given in and agreed to these reforms proves the justice and validity of the opposition’s long hard struggle against these harsh laws.
“In tonight’s speech, there was no admission or even recognition of wrongdoing in the usage of these laws against the rakyat for five long decades,” he said in a statement.
He added that Najib’s reforms fell short and left substantial undemocratic and oppressive powers in the hands of the government.
He said the the ambit and wording of the two proposed new laws to replace the ISA were unknown. He also questioned the alleged threat under which the two laws were to be passed.
“What business has the PM to enact two more preventive laws when there is no such threat existing?
“While pretending to enter into a new era of reform, the PM is playing the old BN game of twisting the constitution to pass every kind of oppressive law deemed suitable for the BN’s needs,” he said.
He also said that the licensing regime for newspapers should be removed totally. “All that should be required of newspaper companies is a business licence,” he said.
He noted that Najib’s promised reforms were found wanting as:
  • The government retains massive and dangerous arbitrary powers.
  • There is no reform of the police force or the setting up of an IPCMC.
  • No reduction of the almost absolute powers of the Attorney General.
  • No promise of a really transparent and independent judicial appointments mechanism.

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