G25 proposes institutional reforms to enhance good governance

  • Nation Premium
  • Saturday, 26 Mar 2016

PETALING JAYA: The G25 group is watching the current state of politics with concern and believes that reforms are essential for creating a high level of confidence on the governance of the country.

"While it is normal in vibrant democratic systems for there to be leadership changes from time to time, these should not cause anxieties and tensions, especially in the business community," said G25 in a statement.

"If we have strong institutions to provide confidence that whatever changes may happen at the political level, the government and the administration will continue to function as usual and that the rule of law will not be affected.

"Strong institutions play an important role in providing an assurance of stability and continuity irrespective of the political changes at the top," it said.

G25 said that it is important to safe-guard the integrity and independence of key government agencies involved in the maintenance of justice such as the police, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), the Central Bank, Attorney-General Chambers and the judiciary.

The group said that the police should be free of ministerial control, the MACC should be directly responsible to Parliament rather to the prime minister and the central bank should have powers to ensure its independence.

Also, the office of the A-G and public prosecutor be separated and act autonomously, and the promotion of judges being determined by an independent body rather than the prime minister. 

While recognising that all political parties need funds to contest in elections, G25 feels that there is an urgent need to ensure that political financing is properly regulated to avoid unethical practices.

"The reform proposals are comprehensive as they require transparency and full accountability of the donations and include institutional changes to set up an independent elections commission that will provide a level playing field for all political parties," said the statement. 

G25 also wants to avoid the excesses and abuses of power by having parliamentary oversight. 

"The oversight role of Parliament is conducted through the establishment of select and standing committees with powers to investigate into the functions of ministries coming under the responsibility of the respective committees and to hold public enquiries on matters of national interest.

"The role of Parliament is not only to pass legislation. It should also follow up in monitoring how the ministers and the civil servants perform in carrying out their responsibilities," it said.

The G25 suggests that the oversight function through select committees that can cover portfolios such as finance, banking, management of public expenditures, education, health, national security and defence, natural resources and the environment, Federal-state relations, and the administration of Islam.

The group also calls for a consultative process to be set up in the government to provide all stakeholders and civil society with the opportunity to deliberate on the formulation of syariah laws.

"We maintain that in legislating on Islamic laws in the respective state assemblies, all Malaysians should be consulted on the constitutional issues arising from the legislation proposed by the religious authorities," said the group.

Lastly, G25 notes that the government has taken concrete steps to improve the quality of education, with the introduction of the Dual Language Program and emphasis on higher order thinking skills.

"G25 strongly recommends that we return to championing the national philosophy and ideology as embodied in the Rukun Negara to restore a stronger sense of unity among all segments of the population.

"The five principles of Belief in God; Loyalty to King and Country; Upholding the Constitution; Rule of Law; and Good Behaviour and Morality are founding principles which are reflective of the core concepts in the Federal Constitution, designed for nation building of a multi-cultural and multi-religious country," it said.

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