We can do this, Ambiga says of action plan to ‘save Malaysia’

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Human rights activist and lawyer Datuk Ambiga Sreenavasan speaking at a forum last week on ‘Where do we go from here?’ in Kuala Lumpur. She hopes for a national caretaker government to set the rule of law and proper governance back in Malaysia. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Seth Akmal, August 9, 2015.

Despite the flak she received over her “action plan” to address the issues Malaysia is currently facing, prominent lawyer and activist Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan is determined to push for the restoration of the nation from its crises.

The action plan, which was unveiled last week, was sent to all 222 parliamentarians from both sides of the divide, with Ambiga hoping that civil society would be able to discuss these solutions with them.

Ambiga along with several other NGOs had, in their action plan, proposed that a “national government” be formed beyond party lines while asking Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to take a leave of absence.

She had also warned that if a proper solution is not found in the near future to deal with the situation, the people would have no choice but to take to the streets to voice their displeasure.

Several lawmakers, including those from Barisan Nasional (BN), have since replied to Ambiga, who said some of their responses to the action plan shocked her.

They slammed her for allegedly colluding with opposition MPs to overthrow the current administration under Najib, she said.

“I sent the action plan to all MPs and I received some replies. Among them were several from BN lawmakers which were rude,” she said.

She said that it was important that all lawmakers see that there is a solution to the present crisis.

Ambiga’s call to MPs to bring about positive change and to make a stand has been supported by opposition leader Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismai, who had said that the errors committed by Putrajaya over the RM2.6 billion channelled into the prime minister’s accounts did not instill confidence in the people that the government would handle the matter properly.

The opposition leader also said the postponement of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearings into debt-ridden state investor 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) did not bode well for the democratic process in Malaysia and would only create negative perceptions of the integrity of PAC.

“We are running out of time, the Malaysian ringgit is losing its value, investment sentiments are on the decline and the government’s actions are affecting the country’s image on the world stage.

“We need to set aside our differences and work together to bring change,” Dr Wan Azizah had said.

Ambiga said they hope to get public support on this.

“I feel the people must know that we can fix this if we all put aside our differences and work together for the nation,” Ambiga told The Malaysian Insider.

The action plan addressed eight areas, including the formation of the national government, free and fair elections, putting an end to corruption and restoring civil liberties.

It proposed that a “national government” be formed with MPs from both sides of the political divide as Najib takes a leave of absence and for an election to be held within 18 months of the setting up of the new government.

It also called for the repeal of all laws that were repressive on media freedom, and for all reports into investigations that were of public interest, including the ongoing probe into 1MDB, to be made public.

“The nation is in crisis. The numerous financial scandals, falling ringgit, implementation of GST (goods and services tax), and curtailment of our fundamental freedoms have resulted in a loss of trust and public confidence in the government.

“Transparency and accountability are non-existent. Those exercising the levers of power are not using them for the good of the public. There is scant attention by the leadership to the economic crisis and the hardship faced by the people,” read the Introduction of the plan which was sighted by The Malaysian Insider.

The action plan is a joint effort by the National Human Rights Society Malaysia (Hakam), Centre to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4), Society for the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham) and Negara-Ku.

Ambiga is president of Hakam and patron of Negara-ku.

On Wednesday, after several investigators involved in probing 1MDB and its related companies were hauled in by police for allegedly leaking official information on the debt-ridden firm, Ambiga said the arrest of people for doing their jobs was unacceptable.

“What are the people in government doing?

“We must protect these agencies because someone out there does not want the truth to come out,” she said.

Ambiga herself was called to the Dang Wangi police district headquarters on July 31 to give her statement on her remarks on possible street protests.

She is being investigated by police under Section 124 of the Penal Code for activities that undermine parliamentary democracy.

A charge under this section carries a jail term of up to 20 years, upon conviction. – August 9, 2015.


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