Overhauling Malaysia | | Institutional Reforms

Many Malaysians placed great importance in the promised institutional reforms promised by the then opposition PH government. Many voted for PH in hope of these reforms to improve the country’s broken-down institutions. 

Institutional Reforms |  

Government's Code of Ethics - Redefining PM, DPM and MPs as ‘Public Officers’ 

Posted on July 10, 2018

The Reform
Amendments to the government code of ethics (announced on July 10) to include the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Members of Parliament from the ruling party as ‘Public Officers’.


Why is the reform needed?
In April 2017, the High Court, in a landmark judgment, struck out a suit by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and two others against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak over tort of misfeasance in public office pertaining to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd’s (1MDB) funds.


What was the lawsuit about?
On March 23 2016, Dr Mahathir, Khairuddin and Anina filed a legal suit against Najib over alleged abuse of power to obstruct the investigation into the 1MDB issue involving the remittance of RM2.6 billion and RM42 million into Najib’s personal accounts. Najib filed the application to strike out the lawsuit on grounds that there is no element of the tort of misfeasance. 

 

What is the implication of the judgement of the case?
According to Najib's counsel, the application to strike out the lawsuit as the court agreed with the argument that the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and political secretaries are not in public services but they are a member of administration as defined in the Federal Constitution. As these persons are not public officers in public office, therefore the causes of action against them for breach of fiduciary duties or tort of misfeasance in public office cannot stand.
The landmark judgement sets the precedent putting the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and political secretaries are above the law and they are not bound by the government code of ethics that governs the conduct of public officers of the government.  Hence, they are not deemed liable or need to take responsibility for their actions.

 

What will this reform do?
The amendment to the government's code of ethics will change the current status of "member of the administration" of the prime minister, deputy prime minister, cabinet members and MPs from the ruling party to public officers holding public office. This amendment will make these people in power who are running our country answerable and liable to the country's laws.

 

News Snippets

July 09, 2018 

PM, ministers to be regarded public officers, liable to anti-graft laws 

The prime minister, deputy prime minister, cabinet members and MPs from the ruling party will be regarded as public officers holding public office and will be liable to the country's anti-corruption laws, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. | Read more >  | SunDaily

 

May 15, 2017 

Is the PM a public officer?

MANY were stupefied when a court handed out a ruling recently that a prime minister of the country is not a public officer. Is he a private officer then? This cannot be. What is he then? | Read more >  | SunDaily

 

April 28, 2017 

High Court strikes out the suit by Dr M against Najib over public misfeasance 

The High Court today struck out a suit by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and two others against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak over tort of misfeasance in public office pertaining to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd’s (1MDB) funds. | Read more >  | NST

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