Two events in the last week before the “509” first anniversary on May 9, 2019 can be said to provide the final stones for the basis for far-reaching institutional and political reforms in the next four years of the Pakatan Harapan government, namely the appointments of a new Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, taking over from Richard Malanjum who had retired on April 2, and a new Inspector-General of Police, Abdul Hamid Bador, replacing Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun.
As the Attorney-General Tommy Thomas said at the ceremonial sitting to celebrate the appointment of Chief Justice Tengku Maimum at the Palace of Justice this morning, the only way for the Malaysian judiciary to return to its “glory days” of the 1970s and 1980s was for judges to consistently endeavour to make the right decisions.
Thomas said the Malaysian judiciary enjoyed a high reputation for the first 30 years after the country’s independence.
Judges of those days such as Lord President Mohamed Suffian Mohamad Hashim and Eusoffe Abdoolcader were seen as luminaries not just in Malaysia but by their counterparts abroad as well.
The time has come for the Malaysian judiciary to produce luminaries not just in Malaysia but also in the international arena.
Tengku Maimum has started the new judicial era on a right note, declaring that the independence of the judiciary does not mean that the judiciary is immune from criticisms or accountability to the public which it serves.
She said the courts respect the right of the public to criticise judges’ performance but the criticisms must be based on facts and done responsibly as unfounded and baseless criticisms against the judiciary would weaken the administration of justice and erode the confidence of the public in the judiciary.
The new Inspector-General of Police has also made a great start, clearing the way for the establishment of the Independent Police Complaint and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC), a key proposal which had been made by the Royal Police Commission headed by former Chief Justice Tun Mohamad Dzaiddin and longest-serving Inspector-General of Police Tun Hanif Omar, but blocked from implementation for some 14 years.
It is even more impressive that the new Inspector-General of Police is visiting police stations in plainclothes and alone, without prior notice or his outrider escorts, to listen to the grouses of police personnel.
Malaysians do not want the country to end up as a failed, rogue and kleptocratic state, but want Malaysia to be a top world-class nation in every field of human endeavour – a world-class police force, a world-class judiciary, a world-class nation of integrity, a world-class education system, a world-class economy and a world-class Parliament.
Earlier, the first year of the Pakatan Harapan Government had seen important basic changes to pave the way for far-reaching institutional, political and democratic reforms, including the appointments of:
· Datuk Mohamad Ariff bin Md Yusof as Speaker of Parliament;
· Tommy Thomas as Attorney-General;
· Tan Sri Abdul Kassim Ahmad as Director-General of National Centre for Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption;
· Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull as Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Chief Commissioner;
· Datuk Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus as Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) Governor.
The stage is set for a greater pace to reset the nation-building process in the second year of Pakatan Harapan government in Putrajaya.
The landslide Sandakan parliamentary by-election victory for DAP, Pakatan Harapan and Warisan on May 11, 2019 provides a great fillip to the agenda in the building of a New Malaysia, for it has crushed the fantasies of those who believe that the Pakatan Harapan is at most a one-term Federal Government, if it does not crumble and disintegrate even sooner.
Furthermore, the Sandakan by-election result debunks the notions of those who believe that the UMNO-PAS axis has a future or that the “Malu Apa Bossku” campaign represents the future of Malaysia.
The Sandakan by-election result is proof that DAP/Pakatan Harapan/Warisan coalition intend to remain as the Federal Government and Sabah State Government even after the 15th General Election to accomplish our agenda to build a New Malaysia, New Sabah and hopefully a New Sarawak.