KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 30 — None of the three administrations from 2018 until now have implemented the National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACP) 2019-2023, according to a Center to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4) report released today.
Since the NACP launched, C4 has tracked the developments of a select 11 out of its 115 initiatives through their MyGovt Reform Tracker (MGRT).
After a promising start, C4 said appetite reforms eventually receded as the Pakatan Harapan government under Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad stumbled through numerous contradictions and reneged pledges, such as not ratifying the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), and appointing Tan Sri Azhar Azizan Harun as chairman of the Election Commission (EC) as well as Latheefa Koya as the chief commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commision (MACC) without obtaining Parliament’s approval.
“Concerning the 13 major reform areas outlined by C4 Center, Pakatan Harapan (PH) successfully initiated 11 of them, with the anti-party hopping law and environmental governance being the notable exceptions.
“Overall, PH successfully tabled the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill while also creating two parliamentary select committees on elections, major public appointments and the national budget.
“Nevertheless, PH failed to table the Ombudsman Bill and a Political Finance Law in October 2019’s Parliamentary sitting as promised. Noticeably, PH was not able to follow through on several of their other vows to enact certain laws and constitutional amendments such as the Parliamentary Service Act as the coalition collapsed in 2020,” said the report.
Meanwhile, the “unelected” Perikatan Nasional (PN) government under Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, had announced all MPs who do not hold positions in government would be made heads of GLCs, essentially declaring the re-emergence of patronage politics openly.
“Remarkably, Muhyiddin chose to completely do away with parliamentary oversight as billions of ringgit were spent without the august house’s approval, before completely suspending Parliament following his emergency declaration.
“In terms of reform, the PN government would initiate the Environmental Quality Act and the Climate Change legislation while also engaging in several consultation processes about the 13 key areas tracked through the MGRT. Despite this, they failed to enact any laws or constitutional amendments concerning the key reform areas, even going on to withdraw the tabling of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill,” said the report.
C4 said the current government under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob fared better with the agreements of bipartisan memorandum of understanding with PH.
The NGO said this agreement paved the way for a slew of reforms to be enacted such as the automatic voter registration (Undi-18), the anti-party hopping law, equal representation of parliamentarians in select committees, equal funding for MPs from the ruling and PH bloc as well the constitutional amendment on the definition of states in the Federation involving Sabah and Sarawak as well as the National Forestry Act 1984 was successfully amended to better protect forests in the country.
“Despite making progress on a few fronts, it is notable that Ismail Sabri’s government completely failed to legislate on police accountability, replacing the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill with a watered-down Independent Police Conduct Commission (IPCC) Bill.
“Ironically, Ismail Sabri’s joint BN and PN government remained true to its commitment to the Memorandum of Understanding, allowing bipartisan efforts to carry out reforms. This proves that reforms to our democratic institutions can be achieved if there is political will to do so,” said the report.
C4 concluded that the past three years have been characterised by an overall lack of will to implement the reform agenda.
They call for the people to see that as the country heads towards its 15th General Election the people should seriously consider their choice of election candidate and the parties that deserve to be in government and protect their interests.
They also said that between the three governments since 2018, PH had shown itself as the most willing to reform.
“Between the three governments in power throughout the NACP’s timeline, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government has shown itself the most willing to initiate and propose institutional reforms but ultimately failed to truly commit to sweeping changes,” said the report.