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The Institutional Reforms Committee (IRC)

What is this committee about?
This committee was set up on May 15, 2018, by the newly elected PH government to look into strengthening government institutions and agencies through reforms. The IRC reports to the government-appointed Council of Eminent Persons (CEP).

 

Who are the members of the Committee for Institutional Reforms?
The committee comprises of:-

  1. Datuk K.C. Vohrah a retired judge of the Court of Appeal 

  2. Datuk Mah Weng Kwai a retired judge of the Court of Appeal and a commissioner with the Malaysia Human Rights Commission, or Suhakam

  3. Brigadier-General (Retired) Mohamed Arshad Raji - President of the National Patriots Association 

  4. Emeritus Professor Shad Saleem Faruqi, a prominent professor of law at Universiti Malaya 

  5. Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan - President of the National Human Rights Society
     

What is the purpose of the IRC?

The main purpose is to recommend reforms and restructure key government institutions and agencies such as the judiciary, law enforcement agencies, election commission, attorney-general chambers, parliament and the auditor-general's office to ensure that they are free from corruption and abuses by those in power.  They have to be restored to serve the needs of Malaysians with integrity.
The IRC is also commissioned to look into strengthening the country’s rule of law, ensure that there are proper check and balance process in place and review legislation such as the Anti-Fake News Act.

Public and Interest Groups' Participation
On May 22, The IRC invited the public and interest groups to write to the committee on government institutions and agencies that 

  • have poor governance 

  • ineffective decision-making processes 

  • inadequate redressal mechanisms

  • have structural defects 

  • have failed to function according to the law

The IRC announced that it will present the final draft of recommendations to the CEP by July 15, 2018.  This is after over a month of hearings covering over 1,000 proposals from the public, non-governmental bodies and civil societies.

What are some of the reform measures that we could look forward to?

The IRC has been tasked to collect information, examine, identify, and fix important government institutions and agencies.  The PH government in its GE14 manifesto had promised Malaysians institutional reforms.   Some of the reforms that the IRC are be looking into may include:-

  • Restore the powers of Parliament

  • Limit the executive power and ensure that there is the separation of powers

  • The structure of judicial appointments

  • Abolish oppressive legislation, namely the Anti-Fake News Act 2018 and the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012

  • The structure key government institutions and agencies, namely the Attorney-General’s Chambers, the Election Commission (EC), the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and enforcement agencies such as the police

  • Introduce proper procedures and vetting system in the appointment of key government personnel with the aim of achieving a corruption-free society

  • Introduce a parliamentary confirmation process in the appointment to key positions in the government as practised in Australia, the US, Europe and the UK

  • Widen the power to review and investigate institutions that either receive or spend monies from the government by the auditor-general

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