Civil society organisations: Institutional reforms still lacking in Anwar’s govt

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Unity government had made some positive strides, but it had fallen short in institutional reforms.

Civil society organisations (CSOs) are encouraged by the unity government’s efforts to maintain good governance since it took over Putrajaya 100 days ago but said more should be done in terms of institutional reforms.

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) executive director Sevan Doraisamy said the unity government had been more open to engaging with CSOs on issues of concern than the previous administration.

“Suaram has taken part in three engagements in two months with the law and institutional reform minister (Azalina Othman Said) or deputy minister (Ramkarpal Singh),” he told FMT.


“Such engagements are crucial as a continuous channel for the government of the day to understand the needs of the public, which will constructively lead to bottom-up policy development and implementation.”

The Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) said the unity government had made some bold moves to stop projects that may have elements of corruption.

Its acting chief, Pusphan Murugiah, cited the cancellation of projects worth RM7 billion under the Jana Wibawa programme, and the flood mitigation projects worth RM15 billion which were re-tendered.

However, the CSOs said that while the unity government had made some positive strides, it had fallen short in some critical areas, such as institutional reforms.

Sevan said the government’s commitment to good governance should have included the repeal of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma).

“Instead of resorting to longstanding rhetoric of national security concerns, the government should objectively and transparently evaluate the need for detentions without trial and their provisions considering the existence of other Acts that address organised crime,” he said.

Pushpan said Azam Baki should have been removed as chief of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission as he was previously linked to an alleged stock trading scandal.

“Removing him (Azam) and having a transparent process in appointing a new chief commissioner would help MACC regain some trust among CSOs and the public,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bersih chairman Thomas Fann said Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim had not made a clear commitment to carry out the institutional reforms promised in Pakatan Harapan’s election manifesto.

Only a special task force had been set up to research, study and propose reforms, he said. – FMT