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Call for establishment of an ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Caucus on Good Governance as another step in ASEAN-institution building to move from a government-driven ASEAN to Parliament-driven ASEAN and eventually people-driven ASEAN
Speech at the Conference on Good Governance, Democracy and ASEAN
by Lim Kit Siang
The AIPMC had achieved a modest success as its first objective, the denial of ASEAN 2006 Chair to Myanmar, was met in July this year when the Myanmese military junta bowed to regional and international pressures by opting out of its turn to take the ASEAN Chair 2006 by rotation.
The AIPCM meeting in Bangkok in September had adopted as its second objective the demand that ASEAN countries should suspend Myanmar from ASEAN unless there are meaningful and substantive progress in democratization and national reconciliation in Burma in the next 12 months.
This AIPMC Conference on Good Governance, Democracy and ASEAN is held at a very important juncture, a week before the ASEAN Summit in Kuala Lumpur. The statement that will be issued by the Conference, particularly with reference to Myanmar, should have an jmportant bearing on the ASEAN Summit.
I would urge that the Conference should strongly reiterate and declare:
As today’s conference is on Good Governance, Democracy and ASEAN, I wish to take this opportunity to call for the establishment of an ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Caucus on Good Governance (AIPCGG) as another step in ASEAN-institution building to move from a government-driven ASEAN to Parliament-driven ASEAN and eventually a people-driven ASEAN.
In the first 38 years of ASEAN since its formation of 1967, ASEAN had been a very governmental affair, being largely involved with government-to-government relations and meetings, with scarce input by the ASEAN legislators, civil societies and citizenries.
The AIPMC is the first MPs-driven ASEAN effort in the 38 years of ASEAN – as distinct from the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organisation (AIPO) which is more of a Parliament-to-Parliament grouping rather than a MPs-driven institution. . It is my hope that just as the meeting in Kuala Lumpur last November gave birth to the fairly vigorous AIPMC, the AIPMC Conference this weekend can give birth to a second ASEAN inter-parliamentary caucus capable of making an impact on the ASEAN landscape.
The areas and subjects that can be covered by the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Caucus on Good Governance (AIPCGG) will be very wide and variegated as good governance is about accountability, transparency, openness, justice and the specific areas would include the creation of strong and effective Parliaments, Judicial Independence, the rule of law, justice, war against corruption, efficient government delivery service, free press, freedom of information, socio-economic justice, etc.
Just now, when declaring open the Conference, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, had announced that the Malaysian Parliamentary Human Rights Caucus which met in Parliament two days ago, had decided to rename itself as Parliamentary Caucus for Human Rights and Good Governance to cover a larger ambit of concerns.
May be, the Malaysian Parliamentary Caucus on Human Rights and Good Governance can be a forerunner to the formation of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Caucus on Good Governance as the second ASEAN Inter-parliamentary institution – resulting eventually, down the years, in the establishment of an ASEAN Parliament.
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman