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Civil societies call for key institutional reforms


 Ivy Josiah. -The Star filepic

Ivy Josiah. -The Star filepic

KUALA LUMPUR: A coalition of civil societies has called for political parties to endorse five key institutional reforms before the coming general election.

The coalition, Governance, Integrity, Accountability and Transparency (Giat), proposed a five-point Good Governance Agenda for political parties to adopt, which includes endorsing legislation that will affirm the independence of institutions – chiefly the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Attorney-General's Chambers – and also requiring by law that all Cabinet members, Members of Parliament, elected officials and senior public officials publicly declare their assets.

Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) secretary-general Ivy Josiah said the body is urging all political parties to endorse the agenda, which is fundamental to making key institutional reforms.

"We sent a letter of the Good Governance Agenda to all political parties four days ago (Feb 26) and have also requested for a meeting with them before the elections.

"We have not received a formal response yet but we would like every political party to respond to us in two weeks," said Josiah at the launch of the agenda here on Friday (March 2).

Josiah said should the parties fail to respond, this would show voters that politicians are not committed to promoting good governance and high standards of integrity in public service.

Giat said commitment to the agenda would ensure good governance no matter which party comes into power after the elections.

Giat is made up of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas), the Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4), Sinar Project, Transparency International Malaysia and Friends of Kota Damansara.

Giat in its agenda also called for legislation to make all political parties publicly declare all forms of its income and expenditure.

Furthermore, the agenda also wanted the enactment of a Freedom of Information law, a review of the Official Secrets Act 1972 and adoption of open data principles.

It also calls for the improvement of participatory democracy within all levels of government, including budgeting processes and holding local council elections.

Giat is also getting parties to sign its 'Pledge for a Public Asset Declaration Framework', which it drew up with help from the Bar Council Malaysia.

Ivy Josiah , Giat , general election

   

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