recommendations of Police Royal Commission an acid test whether Malaysia has
the political will to rise up to the challenge to eradicate “First World
Infrastructure, Third World Mentality” malaise or whether it is another
replay of the charade like Parliament being declared a “smoke-free zone”
but still choked with fumes
Speech (2) at Parliamentary Opposition Leader’s Roundtable
by Lim Kit Siang
(Parliament, Tuesday): Finally, what are the chances of the 125 recommendations for police reform by the Royal Commission being implemented? I find a news item yesterday about Parliament already declared a smoke-free zone oddly and sadly apt to the question.
After the roof of the Dewan Rakyat ceiling leaked last month, forcing the ignominious and premature end of the Parliamentary meeting, I lamented that after spending RM85 million for renovation of Parliament – which is to balloon to RM99 million - there is not even a “smoking room” for MPs who smoke, so that Parliament House could set the example of being smoke-free zone
I noted that before 1999, thanks to the campaigning efforts of the then Deputy Health Minister, Datuk Farid Ariffin, Parliament was on the way to become one of the earliest “smoke-free” national institutions– but six years later, despite the nation-wide “Tak Nak” campaign, the smoking condition in Parliament has got very much worse.
Yesterday, the parliamentary secretary to the Health Ministry, Lee Kah Choon, told the press at an anti-tobacco conference that Parliament is supposed to be a smoke-free zone and that there is a special smoking area for those who need to smoke – but the fact is that Parliament is choked with smoke all over the building.
Will police reforms suffer the same fate of the “Tak Nak” campaign, with corruption and human rights abuses among the police even more rife despite the Police Royal Commission Report and recommendations?
The 125 recommendations of Police Royal Commission are an acid test whether Malaysia has the political will to rise up to the challenge to eradicate “First World Infrastructure, Third World Mentality” malaise or whether it is another replay of the charade like Parliament being declared a “smoke-free zone” but still choked with fumes.
As the Chairman of the Police Royal Commission, Tun Mohammed Dzaiddin Abdullah rightly pointed out in his foreword in the Report, the agenda for police reform requires “strong and inspired leadership” and “strong and sustained political will on the part of Government” if it is to succeed.
Abdullah has taken two right and courageous steps to set up the Police Royal Commission and to release to the public the Commission Report. Will he have the political will and support of the rest of his government to take the third and final step to implement in full the Commission’s 125 recommendations?
We do not want the Police Royal Commission Report to end up like Suhakam Reports, which are by and large ignored by the government and the society at large because they are not taken seriously by the government and not even debated in Parliament. In fact, the statutory requirement of Suhakam to submit its annual report go Parliament by the first meeting of the following year had been observed in the breach – as the Suhakam Annual Report 2004 had not been given to MPs in the March/April meeting of Parliament ending on April 28, 2005 although Suhakam submitted it to Parliament on April 6, 2005!
If the Police Royal Commission Report is not to suffer the same fate like Suhakam reports, there is an urgent need for a grand coalition of political and civil society forces to launch a national movement to strengthen the hands of Abdullah for full and immediate implementation of the 125 recommendations.
Such a grand coalition of political and civil society forces can be guided by a five-point objective, viz:
* Lim Kit Siang,
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman