18 year-olds voting and standing for election, police who are friends of people and working towards transforming Malaysia into a nation of integrity are signs of New Malaysia-in-the-making

Fourteen months after the historic decision of the 14th General Election on May 9, 2018 to save Malaysia from a failed, rogue and kleptocratic state, a New Malaysia is taking shape.

Three recent events showed that we are moving in a direction where 18-year-old Malaysians can vote and stand for elective office, police are to be regarded as friends and not bullies or oppressors of the people with the establishment of the Independent Police Complaint and Misconduct Commission and Malaysia is being transformed from a kleptocracy state into a leading nation of integrity.

The basic reason why Malaysia had lagged behind countries like United States, Philippines, France, New Zealand, Denmark, India, Hong Kong, Jordan, Pakistan, Morocca, Saudi Araba and Japan, which had lowered the voting age from 21 years to 18 years in past 48 years since I first raised the issue in Parliament in 1971 is because past governments were afraid of the youth, whom they regard as anti-establishment and anti-government.

The 12-day meeting of July 2019 Parliament ended yesterday with the presentation of the long-awaited Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill.

The IPCMC bill is remarkable for three reasons:

Firstly, the police must be commended for embracing the IPCMC as an oversight body 14 years after it was first mooted by Police Royal Commission of Inquiry in 2005.

Advocates of klepto-theocracy will insinuate that this is the result of the dominance of the Pakatan Harapan government by the DAP, which is falsely maligned as a “Chinese, Christian and Communist” party when we are a Malaysian party for all Malaysians. Look at the composition of the Police Royal Commission established by Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Badawi in 2004 – the chair was the former Chief Justice, Tun Dzaiddin Abdullah, deputy chair was former Inspector-General of Police Tun Hanif Omar, while the members included two former Chief Justices Tun Salleh Abas and Tun Zaki Tun Azmi, former Petronas Chairman Tan Sri Azizan Zainal Abidin, former High Court judge Datin Paduka Zaleha Zahari, former journalist Datuk Kadir Jasin and former Malaysian Bar President Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari. Were these distinguished personages all influenced by the “Chinese, Christian and Communist” DAP in 2005?

Secondly, concern that the IPCMC Bill will be a watered down version of the IPCMC recommendation of the Dzaiddin Royal Commission had not been borne out, as the IPCMC bill has retained almost intact the proposals of the Police Royal Commission to be an effective oversight body of the police to ensure that the police are the friends of the ordinary law-abiding Malaysians and not bully or oppressor.

The third feature of the IPCMC Bill is the three-month period for public feedback and consultation before the IPCMC Bill is presented to Parliament for second and third readings.

I hope that all bills will henceforth be made public beforehand to allow for feedback and consultation before they are debated and decided by Parliament.

The third memorable event was the meeting of the Special Cabinet Committee on Anti-Corruption yesterday, which has resulted the announcement by the Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad that steps are being taken to ensure that major public service appointments like the chairmen and members of the Election Commission, Judicial Appointments Commission and Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) as well as the chief commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) will be referred to the parliamentary select committee.

Mahathir also announced that the Freedom of Information Act will be drawn up to replace the Official Secrets Act 1972.

Mahathir further said after the meeting that 15% or 17 initiatives out of the 115 initiatives outlined in the National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACP) have already been implemented - nine in the field of political governance, two for public sector administration, three for the legal and judicial sector, one for law enforcement and two for corporate governance, he said.

Out of the 22 initiatives given priority in the NACP, 32% or six initiatives had been resolved involving three in the governance sector, one for administration , two for public acquisition and one for corporate governance.

The National Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption Centre (GIACC) should present an annual report to Parliament on the progress of the NACP, which should be examined by the parliamentary committees tasked with the subject of anti-corruption.

The transformation of Malaysia from a global kleptocracy to a leading nation of integrity in the world should be regarded as one of the challenges of the 14th Parliament, which must break with the ignominious record of the 13th Parliament in aiding and abetting Malaysia becoming a global kleptocracy.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri