Monday, October 3, 2011

Najib’s reform package underway

In Parliament today, the government is proposing to repeal the Restricted Residence Act and the Banishment Act, and to form the PSC on poll reforms.

(Free Malaysia Today) - Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak moved to repeal the Restricted Residence Act and the Banishment Act today, fulfilling his vows to implement quick political reforms to improve civil liberties.

At the same time, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nazri Aziz also tabled a motion to form the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on poll reforms.

Najib promised the formation of the PSC after his government received widespread condemnation for its strong-arm response to the July 9 rally that called for Putrajaya to clean up Malaysia’s electoral system.

The rally, where close to 1,700 protesters were arrested while scores were injured, was organised by polls reform group Bersih 2.0.

The committee members’ composition will reflect current Parliamentary numbers – five from Barisan Nasional, three from Pakatan Rakyat and one independent.

While tabling the motion, Nazri reiterated that setting up the PSC was not a nod to accusation that election in Malaysia was corrupt but instead a way to deflect the allegations.

“The formation of the PSC is to ensure there are no more accusations against the Election Commission,” the law minister told the Dewan Rakyat.

The PSC will have six months to look into poll reforms and make recommendations on ways to improve the election system.

The panel’s terms of references included all key eight demands made by Bersih, including the possible use of indelible ink, fair access to media, longer campaigning period and the abolishment of postal votes.

Winning back middle Malaysia

The repeal of the two laws are among the slew of political reforms announcements made by Najib on the eve of Malaysia day.

He also made a landmark announcement to scrap the British-inherited Internal Security Act which allows detention without trial.

Najib said the ISA, a law which the opposition claimed BN had thrived on to crush dissent, will be repealed in March next year as his government needed time to draft two new laws to replace it.


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