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Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuang

Objection To JITN Due To Lack Of Understanding Of Its Role

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KUALA LUMPUR Those who had objected to the setting up of the National Integrity and Good Gov­ernance Department (JITN) were not well informed about the department’s role, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Paul Low.

He said JITN, which was officially established on Nov 1, had received objections from prominent civil society and human rights leaders since its establishment was mooted as they did not fully understand the functions of the department.

“I think they all objected because they don’t understand what JITN is,” he told reporters when met after delivering his opening address at the Human Rights Day celebration, here, today.

Integrity activists including Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam, Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye and Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim had reportedly questioned the establishment of JITN. Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad, enchoing similar views, had said that the allocated budget for JITN could be better used to beef up the existing law enforcement units.

Low had reportedly said that JITN, which was upgraded from the Integrity and Good Governance Division into a full-fledged department, could not exert control over other agencies such as the MACC, Malaysian Institute of Integrity, Malaysia Human Rights Commission and Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission as these were all independent institutions.

Elaborating, Low said the department, which was now looking into developing a group of civil servants with certain capacities and skills set, would be the leading agency and catalyst for change related to integrity and human rights and whether it involved the mindset, procedures, regulations or even law.

“We (department) will have the overall view of things and know the consequences, causes and benefits. And we will be the ones who will propose for change to the cabinet,” he said.

Earlier in his speech, Low said the department, which is under his purview, aimed to create greater coherence within the government machinery in upholding and advancing the human rights cause.

“The establishment of this department reflects the government’s strong will to reinforce the mainstreaming and institutionalisation of human rights within the government structure. This requires a lead agency and JITN will undertake to make the necessary transformation,” he added. – BERNAMA

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