Monday, April 10, 2006

Good news on a Monday

I don't want to sound overly optimistic but still, today's news that the government plans to set up an ombudsman to investigate complaints against the authorities, including ministers and the ACA is most certainly welcoming.

The STAR reported that a study is being conducted on the establishment of the independent body and once completed, a proposal will be tabled to the Parliament for ratification.

An ombudsman is a government appointee who investigates complaints by private persons against the government.

Some pertinent comments from prominent personalities in response to this proposal:-

Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang, in welcoming the move said that it should not be an excuse to "kill off plans for the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC)" and "A proper study of the mechanism of the ombudsman should be made and revealed to the public."

Bar Council chairman Yeo Yang Poh said the body should have enough regulatory powers as it would have to deal with many issues affecting government agencies. "If the legal structure of the ombudsman is diluted, then it will be inadequate. The ombudsman should be able to reach a real solution to the issues at hand." He further said that, "Making it workable would mean the ombudsman’s office would have to be huge, with highly competent staff."

Social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, who has been championing the cause, was upbeat with the decision. "It is high time for such a body to be set up," he said. "It should be headed by someone who is well-versed in the law and possesses the utmost integrity."

Transparency International chairman Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam said it was "the best news I’ve heard in years. What’s exciting about the ombudsman is that it will not be confined to just the police," he said. "This should strengthen confidence in the public delivery system."

Navaratnam, who is also chairman of the Asli Centre for Public Policy Studies, cautioned however, that if the body were ineffective in its duties, the reverse would occur. "If the ombudsman is not given any teeth, it will end up being just another advisory body and public confidence will be eroded," he said. "It is therefore important that the ombudsman be a person willing to act for the public and independent of political influence. His or her office should also be adequately staffed by good assistants."

Click here for the link to this announcement by the NST.

I hope at the end of the day, this proposal will really work out for the benefit of the Rakyat and not end up as just another half-baked idea full of empty promises and lofty pronouncements.

Incidentally, I also wonder how this ombudsman proposal will affect the earlier recommendation for the setting up of the IPCMC. Is this supposed to be something which is offered to the Rakyat as an appeasement to the ultimate caning of the IPCMC suggestion? I certainly hope not.

The SUN reported today in its front-page that the Bar Council has launched a public petition campaign to call for the implementation of major recommendations of the police royal commission, in particular the setting up of the IPCMC as it is seen as an essential part of the reform.

The online petition, entitled Movement Towards a Better Police Force can be viewed here. Apart from this, the Bar Council will start sending out the petition to individuals and organisations starting today, by mail or fax, to gain their support until the government commits itself to the formation of the IPCMC. Do give your support if you should receive the petition.

Well, things seem to have picked up speed all of a sudden.

I am hopeful that the momentum can be sustained and not fizzled out unexpectedly. In this country, it has been amply displayed that good intentions and suggestions are all too often shot down by a few spoilsports who are bent on keeping the status quo for reasons best known to themselves.

Nevertheless, it is still good news on a blue Monday.

I'm looking forward to more positive pronouncements from Pak Lah's government. It's high time for Pak Lah to deliver on his promises and reaffirm our faith in him. It's really way overdue, in case he hadn't noticed.

Update @ 5:00pm:

I like the sound of this:

No room for civil servants who frustrate implementation of 9MP, says PM.

Heads of department and civil servants who frustrate the implementation of the Ninth Malaysia Plan will be removed.

This stern reminder to all ranks in the civil service came from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in his meeting with Perlis civil servants at Dewan Warisan today.

There is no place for passengers in the civil service, he cautioned.

But I'm equally confused by this:

Najib: Gov't yet to decide on proposal to set up ombudsman system.

The Government has yet to decide on the proposal to set up an ombudsman system to look into complaints against the authorities, including ministers and elected representatives.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the proposal was being studied.

"We are currently getting feedback from various quarters. Actually, the Government has yet to make any decision on the matter ... we will only make a statement when we are ready," he told reporters after officiating at the Tun Razak camp in Bukit Gedong here yesterday.

He was asked if the ombudsman system would serve as an alternative to the proposed Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC).

Now, what's this all about, getting people unnecessarily excited and optimistic. Is he talking cock again?



Blogger howsy said...

Seriously, what could you expect from something coming out from the mouth of Nazri 'Chameleon' Aziz?

10/4/06 20:01  
Blogger Lone said...

The ombudsman suggestion looks like a red herring to keep the natives happy while the IPCMC is conveniently shelved till 2008. During that election year an impotent IPCMC and/or ombudsman would probably be on offer.
The push for the establishment of an IPCMC must continue.
Please get as many friends to sign the online petition or get fellow bloggers to continue blogging about the IPCMC. Don't let the suggestion of a ombudsman sidetrack us.

10/4/06 21:30  
Blogger Maverick SM said...

Even Royal Commission of Inquiry is powerless. Do you think Ombudsman which inherently has no power vested makes much of a difference?

In UK, ombudsman works as the House of Commons are one voice when it comes to control and exercise of executive discretionary power.

I sound pessimistic but we live in this surreal world of boleh lagi.

11/4/06 01:16  
Blogger H J Angus said...

cik amoi
It begins to sound like a belated April Fool's joke.

I am interested in your lunch offer if it still stands.

Have to drive up north from JB on 28th April so send me an sms at 012-7671005 to see if we can meet someplace convenient.

11/4/06 10:38  
Blogger Anak Merdeka said...

Howsy: Nazri's split personality is on display again. Btw, I hope you will have a great Easter holiday break. Enjoy!

Lone: I have signed the online petition and I support your call to fellow bloggers to do the same. Something's really fishy with this ombudsman suggestion coming at the heels of the IPCMC dilly-dallying.

Mave: I have my own cynicism but still, try my best to curb it if only for the sake of remaining optimistic and upbeat about the prospects of a better future for the likes of us who have (almost) given up hope on the promise of an equitable Malaysia for all Malaysians, esp. the non-bumis and the non-Malay bumis of Sabah & Sarawak.

That is one of the motivation that spurs me on in keeping this blog going.

HJ: We have the famous beef-noodle, hainanese chicken rice, hakka noodle and my all-time fav Indian restaurant here. I'm also extending my invitation to your wife, in case she's coming along with you. Give me a ring to confirm the time, okay? Cheers!

12/4/06 16:35  
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17/12/16 00:45  

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