AG to civil society: Don't be complacent, press Pakatan to implement reforms

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 28 May 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: Civil society should hound Pakatan Harapan ministers and politicians for civil rights reforms, says Attorney General, Tommy Thomas.

He cited the moves by the government not to ratify the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Icerd) and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), as examples where Pakatan had failed to deliver.

"My job is to advise the government on legal matters, and as far as I am concerned, there are no legal impediments for Malaysia to sign them.

"But, it is a political decision which is made by the Cabinet.

"My advice to civil society is that you should go and nab them (ministers and politicians); catch them wherever they are and ask them why they have not implemented their manifesto," he said at the launching of Suara Rakyat Malaysia's (Suaram) Malaysia Human Rights Report 2018 on Tuesday (May 28).

Thomas said ministers like Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo and Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran were lawyers and could help push for reforms in the Cabinet.

He also lamented that civil rights groups had become complacent, after Pakatan took over as the government.

"I think of all of us have become complacent after May 10 and expect the government, or even me, to perform miracles.

"No one can make the changes alone," he said.

Thomas added that civil rights groups should also focus on bringing about changes through the law, rather than seeking constitutional amendments.

He said this was because Pakatan did not have a two-thirds majority required in Parliament to amend the Constitution, but have a comfortable majority to make amendment to laws.

Thomas assured civil rights groups that his office would act swiftly to draft changes to the laws, once the government decided to amend them.

On the issue of arrests of offences related to civil liberties, Thomas said the decision to investigate came under police jurisdiction.

However, he noted there had been fewer prosecution of such cases, as his office held the ultimate decision on the matter.

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