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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs                                 15  September 2011

Razak’s speech to announce major civil reforms

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Major political, social and security reforms are among the highlights of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's Merdeka/Malaysia Day speech that will be aired on private and public TV channels live on Thursday.

The Prime Minister is expected to announce measures that will make it less restrictive for people to express themselves and those who have seen the speech say that it “will redefine the political landscape of Malaysia”.

“This is all about the democratic process. This is what the people have been clamoring for. The Government is listening to them.

“And it is all about the transformation process by the government. We already have the Government and economic transformations. This is now the time for political transformation in line with current global developments,” said a source.

Najib is expected to make announcements on laws and practices that are deemed draconian and undemocratic by the people, including the Internal Security Act (ISA) and the Emergency Ordinance.

While senior aides said that the ISA would not be repealed, they said Najib would announce measures to “update” it, including on the length of the detention period.

In what can be seen as an answer to criticisms on the government's handling of the Bersih 2.0 rally, Najib is also expected to announce measures to relax control on the freedom of expression and the right to assemble.

A government official said the recent announcement of the formation of the parliamentary select committee to improve the electoral process was part of the reform process.

The government is also expected to introduce reforms for media practitioners, including on censorship and the need for them to renew their permits annually.

“The government needs to move on with the times and do ourselves a favour without having to control publications,” said another source.


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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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