Siti Kasim: Not Releasing IRC Report Is Cowardice

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Siti has given the government 48 hours to release the report to the public.

Transparency is the cornerstone of good governance, hence the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government should make public the Institutional Reforms Committee (IRC) report, said lawyer Siti Kasim at a forum this morning.

She lashed out at PH for not releasing the report that would reveal how much it had done after capturing federal power in the May 2018 general election.

“Why the secrecy? It should be made public already.

“This is asymptomatic of everything that has gone wrong with PH. They were voted in by the people with good intentions.

“What we should not expect is the new government to be so weak in its spine or lacking in courage and strategy that it assumes the loud voices of opposition are the voices of real voters. 

“Our elected representatives practically backtracked on everything based on the misconception of reality or the lack of thinking skill to outmanoeuvre the opposition.

“Keeping of the IRC report under wraps is cowardice and lacking in strategic thinking to promote it,” she said at the Institutional Reform Committee Report: Why the Secrecy? forum organised by human rights group National Human Rights Society (Hakam).

In May 2018, the IRC was set up to give recommendations to the government concerning key national institutions and had submitted its final report to the Council of Eminent Persons and Prime Minister’s Department in July 2018.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong told the press in 2018 that the report would be made public after the report was discussed in detail by the cabinet.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad also said he was willing to make the report public, but a consensus must first be reached between the parties in the PH coalition.

“If you ask me, I will release it but I’m not a free agent. I have other people (to consider). One has to remember we have five parties in the government and each one has its own agenda.

“If I’m going to be democratic, I have to consult them. It depends on the consensus that we achieve in the coalition.

“But, of course, I like to be popular. If you want me to release, I will release,” he said last October.

Meanwhile, Siti has given the government 48 hours to release the report to the public.

She added that if the government does not know how to handle the delivery of the report, it should hand the matter over to the civil societies.

“Give it to us if you do not know how to handle the delivery. We will help and manage the delivery of the recommendations. We are more than capable and smarter than you politicians.

Nazir Sufari/TMI

“The PH government must release it in 48 hours from today. You parliamentarians holding ministerships are not our bosses. We are the bosses and you work for us. You do not lecture us, we lecture you.”

Dr M may be the only PH leader to read IRC report

Meanwhile, lawyer Ambiga Sreenevasan said today Dr Mahathir might be the only PH leader who has read the IRC report.

Ambiga, who was part of the IRC member who presented the findings of the committee in July 2018, said by the lack of acknowledgement, she guessed that the report was not read by other PH leaders in today’s government.

“I don’t even know if every agency was given a copy. I don’t even know who has a copy and I am pretty certain that not many of our leaders – I know Dr Mahathir has read it. I don’t know who else has read it.

Hari Anggara

“I can hazard a guess, nobody actually,” Ambiga said in the forum today.

She said things are not all lost as there are government agencies such as National Centre for Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption (GIACC) led by Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohammed that have implemented recommendations by IRC.

“To be fair, the GIACC, they have looked at our report and they are implementing some of the recommendations in regards of anti-corruption matters. So, I know that is a work in progress that is happening.

She lamented that if the PH leadership had seen the passion of the people who were so eager to participate in the IRC’s process of coming up with the report on institutional reforms, they would look at things differently.

“We received so much input I can’t even begin to tell you how much the people wanted to participate in the process.

“They (the Harapan leadership) are missing out on that, the passion of the people, the expertise of the people, the valuable feedback that we got. All these people came, all making a huge effort because they want to be part of the process of building the new Malaysia.

“Now if only those in government had seen what we have seen…if only they had seen how engaged the public was, then they will understand how much goodwill of the people they had (at that time),” Ambiga said.

With the government’s treatment of the report, she said she is afraid she would never see that kind of passion from the people again.

“I will never see that passion again, I’m afraid, because if you do this (hide the report), you won’t see that passion again and that is the passion that is going to push the engine for change,” she said.