Musa Hitam: Form Agong-approved ‘representative’ group to reform Malaysia over two years

Tun Musa Hitam today proposed the formation of a group to reform Malaysia’s governance and tackle its many interconnected issues, given power by the assent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and an accompanying special Act passed in Parliament. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
Tun Musa Hitam today proposed the formation of a group to reform Malaysia’s governance and tackle its many interconnected issues, given power by the assent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and an accompanying special Act passed in Parliament. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 1 — Former deputy prime minister Tun Musa Hitam today proposed the formation of a group to reform Malaysia’s governance and tackle its many interconnected issues, given power by the assent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and an accompanying special Act passed in Parliament.

During his keynote speech for the “International Conference on Political Party Finance Reform in Southeast Asia”, Musa said that the group should last for not more than two years and not include any partisan politicians, and should be a “truly representative” group.

“In such times as we are going through right now like on leadership uncertainties, general elections, realignments of political groupings taking place there is no better time than this,” he said at the conference that was conducted on the Zoom video-conferencing platform.

Musa said Malaysia’s issues were deeply interconnected, including asset declaration, political party financing, the conduct of elections, faulty bureaucracy, as well as corruption; and would all need to be addressed in one go.

He said the “activities, rights, responsibilities and duties” of the proposed group should “cover the whole span” and be freed of interference by the government or partisan politicians.

He added that a careful study should be done to select the members of the group, including on the number of members, representativity, and an overall need based on national issues.

Musa said that although his idea was based on the experience of the May 13, 1969, racial riots incident, his idea was not to form a National Operation Council-type of government or to give the group any powers as if in any national Emergency.

“The idea of the life-span of two years is in order to give ample time for the multiple-faceted issues of the country that need to be covered and dealt with, as best as can be.

“Maybe, maybe all said and done, at the end of the two-year period, results of all the collective work could be presented to Malaysians at large,” he said.

He also said that excitement over governance reform has waned since the special motion to make asset declaration mandatory for all MPs was passed in 2019, adding that the asset declaration system lacked good auditing and enforcement judging by its supposed failure to tackle corruption.

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