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Three critical issues the Cabinet cannot delay and procrastinate tomorrow – Marginalisation of Malaysian Indians, Royal Commission of Inquiry to restore independence and integrity of judiciary and publication of IPCMC Bill

Media Conference (2)         
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Parliament, Tuesday): There are three critical issues which the Cabinet cannot delay and procrastinate tomorrow, viz:

• A New Deal to end the long-standing marginalization of the Malaysian Indians and all marginalized groups;

• Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam Tape scandal and restore the national and international confidence in the independence, integrity and competence of the judiciary; and

• Make public the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) Bill.

If there is no immediate announcement of the establishment of the Royal Commission of Inquiry after the Cabinet meeting tomorrow, on its composition and terms of reference, the Malaysian public and international community cannot be blamed for coming to adverse inferences about the bona fides and political will of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to come to grips with the nettlesome problem of the 19-year degradation of the system of justice.

Malaysians had been expecting announcements from the Prime Minister about the Royal Commission of Inquiry since last Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting but the past week had passed with the daily disappointment of no news on the matter.

Although the past week had been overshadowed by the after-effects and shocks of the 30,000-strong Hindraf demonstration on November 25, with almost daily condemnation by the Prime Minister of the Hindraf allegation of “ethnic cleansing” of Indians in Malaysia, it is a grave misjudgment for anyone to think that the issue of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam Tape and to restore the independence, integrity and quality of the judiciary could be sidestepped and even swept under carpet as a result of the Hindraf furore.

Let me remind Abdullah that Malaysians expect positive and concrete announcements about the establishment of the Royal Commission of Inquiry after the Cabinet meeting tomorrow or it will be another black mark on his administration.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Nazri Aziz has confirmed that the IPCMC Bill will be presented for debate in the current meeting of Parliament and that the Cabinet meeting tomorrow will be the final stage of government approval of the bill.

This will mean that there may only be a week or so for MPs and the civil society to study the Bill before parliamentary debate, as I would not want to see the IPCMC bill, which should have been set up 18 months ago in June 2006 going by the recommendation of the Royal Police Commission, to be further delayed and deferred to the next parliamentary meeting next year.

In the circumstances, the IPCMC Bill should be immediately made available to MPs after the Cabinet meeting tomorrow so that they have as much time as possible to study the proposed legislation.


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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