Media Statement (8 November 2018): CEP and IRC Reports Should be Made Public

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Election calls on the Prime Minister to make public the reports of the Council of Eminent Persons and the Institutional Reform Committee (IRC) and announce the actions that have been taken on the recommendations made by both the CEP and IRC.

The CEP was formed on May 12 and the IRC on May 15 by the new government after the 14th General Elections to advise the government on economic matters and to propose institutional reforms in the country respectively.

The IRC submitted its report to the CEP on July 16 while the CEP submitted its report to the prime minister on August 7. However, on August 27, the Prime Minister was quoted by media that that the CEP’s report may not be made public.

The CEP interviewed some 350 people from 300 organizations while the IRC held meetings with civil society organizations and reviewed more than 1,000 written submissions from the public and stakeholders.

When the public was invited to make submissions, there is an expectation that their views and proposals would be considered when the IRC and CEP make their recommendations. How would the public know if their views and the recommendations of the committees are being considered or treated seriously if the reports are not made public?

Lack of transparency and accountability undermines public trust and erodes the goodwill garnered by the PH government after GE14.  One of the reasons the PH government was voted in was because it promised higher transparency and integrity than the previous Government.  The Pakatan Harapan government should not repeat the mistakes of the past.

Therefore, right to information is essential in accountable and corruption governance. There is a pressing need for the reports to be made public either as green or white papers so that the people are able to review the recommendations presented and to spur public discussions in line with Promise 16 of the Pakatan Harapan Manifesto.

If there are sensitive parts of the reports that can threaten public order or national security, these can be kept out of the reports, but they should not be the reason for holding back the release of the reports.

We reiterate our call for the introduction of comprehensive national right to information law to ensure transparency and accountability. The Pakatan Harapan Manifesto’s promise to enact a Freedom of Information Act as part of its fight against corruption is commendable and should be fulfilled without delay.

Released by,

BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee