LTG: Time for Ombudsman

Malaysian Ombudsman: Helping Our Country Navigate Through Perilous Times

by Lim Teck Ghee

Director, Centre for Policy Initiatives (CPI)

I would like to add my voice to that of others who have argued the need for the establishment of a Malaysian Ombudsman to help heal the deep divides are so clearly splitting our country across race, religious and class lines. Few can deny that we live in unprecedented turbulent times. The recent controversies over a range of issues covering so many areas of life – economic, education, administration of law and justice, religious, socio-cultural – all tell of an increasing sense of public frustration and of widely held perceptions of a nation that is losing – if it has not already lost – its sense of direction. There is a grave danger that should we fail to act quickly and decisively, we will not only endanger what we profess to cherish – our unique Malaysian way of life – but also that the country can tip over the brink, and descend into disharmony and harm.

What is common in the dissatisfaction and alienation felt by Malaysians is the sense that there is a lack of redress and absence of recourse for the many troubling disagreements and controversies that are cropping up on an almost daily basis. Racial and religious issues, in particular, are shunted to the side and ignored or funneled through the normal channels of government and politics that have long proven to be ineffectual or are uninterested in finding remedies.

 

I believe the establishment of a Malaysia Ombudsman can help to lance the boils of hate and anger erupting all around the country. Almost 20 years ago, during a time when racial and religious sentiments were less polarized, the first National Economic Consultative Council (Majlis Perundingan Ekonomi Negara) consisting of 150 prominent Malaysians from all walks of life had recommended to the Government the urgency for a paradigm shift in the handling of national unity. The Council at that time proposed the establishment of a National Unity Advisory Council which would prepare an annual audit of the state of ethnic relations and national unity, and advice Government and the public in this important sphere. The Chairman of the five man steering committee that prepared the consensus NECC report – which included this recommendation – was our present Prime Minister, Pak Lah.

 

Today, the country needs another paradigm advance in the way we are managing our racial and religious strife. A Malaysian Ombudsman team consisting of three Malaysians who have earned the respect of fellow Malaysians for their integrity, wisdom and ability to rise above their immediate racial and religious affiliation – two from the Peninsular and one from East Malaysia – can be the vital breakthrough in dealing with the many racial and religious issues that bedevil the country. The office of a National Ombudsman through its handling of complaints and grievances related to race and religion can provide that avenue of redress and help to heal our badly frayed social cohesion.

 

I am sure there are many good Malaysians who would be more than ready and willing to serve the country in this noble cause of advancing racial and religious peace and harmony. Zaid Ibrahim, Shad Saleem Farouki, Raja Petra Kamarudin, Ramon Navaratnam, Simon Sipaun, Param Coomarasamy, Marina Mahathir, Raja Aziz Addruse, Tunku Abdul Aziz, Chooi Mun Sou, Ngan Ching Wen, Lee Ban Chen, Sim Kwang Yang, K. Arumugam and other Malaysians are well known for their willingness to rise above the ethnic fray in defense of the national well-being.

 

Can the Government act quickly and make the right decision on this or will we see it engage in further foot-dragging and business as usual – which is do nothing?

 

 

15 January 2008

One response to “LTG: Time for Ombudsman

  1. Am I correct that the posting was in Duplicate?
    Upper half and Lower Half the same!

    What are the problems?
    aalmost everyone touching public service or utilities can tell a lot!
    The one responsible to each service or utilities have no ethics to work!
    Their supervising authority either no responding, or dragging, or, purposely had those service and utilities installed!
    Nearly every office or Department have their complaint section, including Ministry and PM!
    Like 7-Eleven for convenient to in & out
    but with water bucket for next many stops to go!

    The key problems is Human Rights have not been spelled
    on the relationship of those to be served and those to serve.
    No Rights to involve in the planning, accounting and even a right place to address!
    Any court and Any lawyer for any People to Act?
    Or, courts, lawyers are for privilege People if they have “connections” to act!!
    http://malaysianjudges.blogspot.com/

    A country starts with Constitution and then other Laws or Acts.
    To be run with independency on Legislation, Monitoring and Execution.
    People has the Rights to involve one way or the other
    and Government be responsible to enquiry to solve what People bother!
    Ministries are set when they have specific area to serve and not because of sharing power among Parties that they be added!

    We have a car of different parts made specifically for that part
    but not in a car to serve the People
    who need it to travel to where People want
    with service that make contribution to the overall growth!

    The drivers can asleep or skip!
    Or check the race or religion before taking the lift!
    Can any advising group come and advise?
    A Giant without heart and soul!
    A four-wheel drive with different engineers
    or even four wheels of different sizes!

    Re-work the Car to suit what People want
    Recruit the Drivers who know the job!

    Constitution, Laws, Administrations with Right Principle of Independency and Accountability and transparency, then the country can work!

    How many consumer council really do their work and not political than necessary?

    If those Rightful NGO had not been provided a legal status and advice accepted,
    Another additional will be a kind of joke,
    one way or the other!

    Marina Mahathir,
    if she can get an acceptable confession from Dr Mahathir on what had gone wrong with Malaysis since his time of ruling and the way of how those loopholes be fixed, she will be most welcome.

    Same for the rest, as too many Political advisory have come
    and how many had done or can do the job?

    A civilized country has to be ruled by Laws and not Politics!!
    If a body cannot work by itself,
    only transplant carries some hope
    Health adviser cannot work!

    IF THEY ARE TO CONTRIBUTE, START TELLING PEOPLE THE RIGHT PRINCIPLE AND DIRECTION TO DO
    DURING AND AFTER THE GE!!
    TELL THEM WHAT RIGHTS THEY HAD BEEN ABUSED AND WHAT LAWS HAD BEEN MISPLACE, MANIPULATED OR MISUSED!

    The basis social responsibility of a responsible citizen to those sharing the same place – the country for ALL!

    Thanks for pointing out the repetition. Have corrected it.

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