After Cabinet line-up letdown, all eyes on reforming top posts within AGC, Parliament

Key institutions in Malaysia will now be the focal point following a change of government last month.

Malaysians are still reeling from the seismic political shock that took place in February last year, which saw the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government.

Another change took place last month, when Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin stepped down as prime minister, after holding on to a wafer-thin majority for 17 months.

Newly-minted Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob chaired his first Cabinet meeting yesterday. A large bulk of his Cabinet is made up of those who had served in the previous government.

During yesterday’s meeting, it was confirmed that Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang would continue to serve as the Prime Minister’s special envoy to the Middle East. The roles of Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing as the Prime Minister’s special envoy to China, and Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem (Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to East Asia), would also be retained.

Malaysians are now hoping for some reforms in the Dewan Rakyat, the Attorney-General Chambers and enforcement institutions.

Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said was among those who had pushed for reforms in recent times. She resigned as deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker on Aug 23.

Yesterday, the Pengerang MP said she would submit a notice of motion to Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun to table a Recall Bill, where MPs would be held accountable for party hopping.

Senior lawyer Datuk Seri Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoos commended Azalina over her latest idea.

“It’s a step in the right direction. The country needs such laws to ensure that the mandate of the rakyat will no longer be corrupted and abused,” said Jahaberdeen.

Party hopping is common in Malaysia as several political leaders, including serving ministers, had jumped ship numerous times to ensure their political survival.

As talks of a new Dewan Rakyat speaker emerge, Azhar denied allegations he had rejected motions for him to resign as Dewan Rakyat Speaker, from being debated in the august House.

In a statement today, he confirmed that his office had received motions to the effect from several proponents, but wrote back to them, saying he would not make a decision as it was a conflict of interest.

He added the decision on the motions calling for him to vacate the post would be handled by Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon

Former Malaysian Bar president Salim Bashir, meanwhile, was hoping for legal reforms, including within the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC).

“An independent law commission must be set up to study amendments to archaic laws and suggest the kind of reforms that we must look at,” said Salim.

“The reforms should also include the separation of the roles of the attorney-general (AG) and the public prosecutor.”

Former law minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan had, in November last year, told the Dewan Rakyat that a paper on the separation of powers would be submitted to the Cabinet by the end of the year, and that the AGC was then in the final stages of drafting it. Nothing has come out of it since.

The current AG is Tan Sri Idrus Harun – Azhar’s brother.

Changes within these institutions would be seen as a step in restoring democracy in Malaysia, something many perceived they had lost during the change in government last year.

To address the trust deficit in these institutions, those leading them must be respected by the civil service, civil societies, and the public in general.

Here are Twentytwo13’s news highlights today.

RETAIL CEILING PRICE FOR COVID-19 ANTIGEN RTK SET AT RM19.90

The retail ceiling price for the Covid-19 Antigen Rapid Test Kit has been set at RM19.90 per piece, effective Sept 5.

The wholesale ceiling price for the test kits had also been set at RM16 each.

The government made the decision based on the findings of its price monitoring activities on business premises and pharmacies nationwide.

The prices were also set based on the feedback from relevant stakeholders, including the Medical Device Authority, Royal Malaysian Customs Department, manufacturers, importers, retailers and pharmaceutical associations.

FOREIGNER NABBED FOR STEALING ID TO GET COVID-19 VACCINATION

A Myanmar woman was picked up for allegedly using someone else’s MySejahtera Covid-19 vaccine registration to get her vaccination at a clinic in Melaka Tengah.

The 27-year-old suspect was arrested on Aug 18 when she went to the clinic to get her second dose.

The victim, an employee of a printing company in Cheng, who is also a foreign national, realised that his personal particulars had been used by someone else when his MySejahtera application showed that he had received his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, despite not having been vaccinated.

The 30-year-old victim raised the matter with his superior and later lodged a police report.

GUAN ENG: DON’T RELY ON FEDERAL GOVT TO TACKLE PANDEMIC

Penang should carry out its own preventive measures in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.

So said Air Putih assemblyman Lim Guan Eng during the State Assembly today. He added that the state government ought to initiate its own mitigation measures to deal with the pandemic and save more lives.

Lim said among the measures that ought to be taken included obtaining adequate supply of vaccines so that the vaccination rate could be increased. He also said traders and hawkers in the state should be prioritised to restore the state’s economy.

MACC GETS NEW DEPUTY CHIEF COMMISSIONER

Datuk Seri Norazlan Razali has been appointed as Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) deputy chief commissioner (prevention) effective today.

Norazlan, 57, replaced Datuk Seri Shamshun Baharin Jamil who reached compulsory retirement age.

Prior to the appointment, Norazlan was the commission’s senior director of investigation.