|Time to modernise archaic laws, says Nazri|
|Thursday, 24 May 2012 08:46am|
©The Sun Daily (Used by permission)
by Hemananthani Sivanandam
KUALA LUMPUR (May 23, 2012): The government will look into setting up an independent law reform commission to review and modernise archaic laws in the country.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said it is time to have such a commission take over the role from the Attorney-General's (AG) Chambers.
"I think they (AG's Chambers) have too much on their hands as they are bogged down with matters such as prosecution, advising the government and drafting new bills," Nazri, who is de facto law minister, told theSun in an exclusive interview recently.
He said more than a thousand legislations could have been passed over the years and he was unsure how many were outdated.
"As such, I think this task of reviewing old laws should be taken from the AG's Chambers and given to a commission comprising people from all walks of life," said Nazri, adding that he will raise the matter with the cabinet soon.
The proposal for a law reform commission have in the past been floated by many law makers, including Nazri's deputy Datuk Liew Vui Keong who last year urged the government to establish the commission to review, draft and modernise laws.
The suggestion was lauded by the Bar Council which said it was willing to play an active role in the process of forming and participating in the law reform commission.
Meanwhile, asked if the government has any plan to reintroduce the Parliamentary Service Act 1963 to return operational independence to the country's legislature, Nazri said there has been no discussion to bring it back.
"It was dropped (in 1992) as we wanted the service to be part of the Public Service Department (PSD). If it is a closed service, you won't get the best people to run the parliament, and you won't expose those in parliament to other sectors, which will result in low productivity," he said.
Nazri also brushed off critics who felt that reforms introduced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak have been merely cosmetic as many Acts were rushed through in the recently concluded parliament session.
He said the recently amended Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA), for example, now only requires a one-off licence, without the need for annual renewal.
"It is not a cosmetic change. The government loses control with the one-time renewal of the licence. Also, we now provide you with the avenue to take the matter to court (if you are unhappy with the Home Ministry), so where else do you want to go?" he asked.
"Those fellows (critics) are either blind or they don't understand what we are doing or they don't know what they want and (so they) just merely object," quipped Nazri who described Najib as a "new era" leader.
"Pak Lah (Former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) was from the older generation – the pre-independence generation – so the thinking was different.
We are the generation of the sons of the previous leaders. Our thinking is different," he said.
On the abolition of whipping for illegal workers as provided under the Immigration Act, Nazri said such punishment would be inconsistent with the country's developing nation status.
"Although whipping under the Act is different from that for sexual crimes, the connotation remains negative," he said.
"Caning for illegal immigrants was a deterrent as it was difficult to trace them before, but now we have the biometric system, we can trace repeat offenders and punish them (in other ways)," he said, adding he will take up the matter with the AG to have the amendment drafted soon.
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