Was Dr M the only Pakatan leader who read IRC report? Ambiga says maybe

Radzi Razak
Former Bersih 2.0 chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan speaks during a forum in Kuala Lumpur January 18, 2020. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 18 — Lawyer Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said today Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad might be the only Pakatan Harapan (PH) leader who has read the Institutional Reform Committee (IRC) report which outlined institutional reform during the early days of its administration in 2018.

Ambiga, who was part of the IRC member who presented the findings of the committee in July 2018, said by the lack of acknowledgement, she guessed that the report was not read by other PH leaders in today’s government.

“I don’t even know if every agency was given a copy. I don’t even know who has a copy and I am pretty certain that not many of our leaders — I know Dr Mahathir has read it. I don’t know who else has read it.

“I can hazard a guess, nobody actually,” Ambiga said in a forum titled “IRC Report: Why the Secrecy?” today.

The IRC was set up in May 2018 to look into the reform of important government agencies that had been the subject of political controversy, with the Judicial Appointments Commission, the police force, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Election Commission among the agencies reviewed.

The committee finalised its report in June 2018, with seven recommendations for revamping the structure of judiciary appointments; limiting the concentration of executive power on a single individual; abolition of oppressive legislation, namely the Anti-Fake News Act 2018 and the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012; reform in enforcement and government agencies; parliamentary reforms; and vetting processes for key public appointments with the aim of achieving a corruption-free society

The report has yet to be made public until now.

Ambiga said things are not all lost as there are government agencies such as National Centre for Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption (GIACC) led by Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohammed that have implemented recommendations by IRC.

“To be fair, the GIACC, they have looked at our report and they are implementing some of the recommendations in regards of anti-corruption matters. So I know that is a work in progress that is happening.

“What it shows to me, when I saw that we have so many letters, we have so many proposals, we heard so many people, all these people came, all making a huge effort because they want to be part of the process in building the new Malaysia. I will never see that passion again, I’m afraid,” she said.

Ambiga also slammed PH leaders and politicians whom she said were so fearless in reform but have suddenly become quiet to the point that she does not recognise them anymore.

“That is why we voted this government in because when they were the Opposition, they were incredibly brave actually. You know in Bersih and such, they had no fear.

“So I don’t recognise some of these people who have gone into the government and are now so afraid of the people who put them there. I find all that a little bit alarming,” she said.

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