Helping more individuals to lose their bankruptcy status, strengthening of legal aid services and dealing with scammers are the Unity Government’s three main focus in realising institutional reform as well as the fortifying the country’s laws next year.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Laws and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said next year will be the implementation phase to all new and amended bills that has been passed in 2023.
She said the basis was to ensure a people-centric legal system that are beneficial to Malaysians besides the Ihsan (compassion) aspect in the Madani concept supported by the Unity Government.
“What’s the use the government spending a lot on laws if the rakyat did not benefit from it? If we want to implement laws and institutional reform, it has to take into consideration the plight of the people to measure the success of the reform because people are our main customers.
“That’s why this year, we had assisted 38,749 individuals to get out of bankruptcy, that’s a progressive number.
“Next year, we aim to help around 130,000 individuals, this is the compassion (aspect) of the Madani (concept), to give this group a second chance,” she said in the Ruang Bicara: Setahun Bersama Kerajaan Madani programme that was broadcasted live on Bernama TV last night.
The enforcement of Insolvency Act (Ammended) 2023 [A 1695] that came into force on Oct 6 gave a second chance to bankrupt individuals to have a new start, which will also contribute to the country’s development.
Azalina said other legislative aspects that will be given more attention in 2024 is legal aid services, by organising more roadshows and through ‘Justice on Wheel’ programme.
“For example, in Sabah and Sarawak, there are mobile courts, but no mobile legal aids. What is the use if they don’t have the opportunity to exercise their legal rights, and has no idea who to consult,” Azalina added.
The minister said next year, Cyber Court, which will manage legislation related to scammers as well as digital and cyber fraud cases, cryptocurrency, e-wallet and other digital platforms will be empowered next year.
She said the existence of Cyber Court is in line with progress of cases on fast-moving digital platforms that require new expertise for prosecutors and judges as it involved different aspects of proof.
“The analogy is the victims have been preyed upon due to lack of evidence and the evidence is gone before it can be traced. It’s fast in this digital world, and that’s why we have to have specific legislations for it,” she added.
Elaborating on the achievement of Unity Government, Azalina said 2023 can be described as the first phase of institutional reform under the Malaysia Madani framework.
She said transparency and good governance can be better scrutinised when the findings of Auditor-General Report and Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) annual report are debated for the first time in Parliament.
“This year we will touch on bankruptcy laws, legal aid, revision of criminal laws, Sexual Offences Against Children (Amendment) Bill 2023, mandatory death sentence that now can be pardoned by judges and Jurisdictional Immunities of Foreign States Bill 2023,” she said.
Azalina added to have a successful institutional reform, the processes involving amendments or the drafting of new bills requires a lot of time and involving multiple stakeholders.
“It’s not that the Dewan Rakyat sits for 300 days a year. It takes time for the bills be tabled, debated and we are in Federal format, there is a Constitution, there is a federal list, a state list and a concurrent list, to be taken into consideration. Sometimes, we have to take into account the state government’s view as well.”