M'sian government's reforms 'working well', says PM

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Kuala Lumpur (The Star/ANN) - The incident-free rally on Saturday proved that the government has done the right thing by reforming certain laws, said Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

The government was committed to providing a legal environment that supports human rights and had abolished laws that could cause polemics, the PM said.

"The rally held in Stadium Merdeka which went peacefully is testimony of the ability of various parties, be it the authorities or organisers, to abide by the law.

"I thank the Opposition, even though I don't agree (with them) for respecting the spirit of the Peaceful Assembly Act," he said.

Among the laws which the government had abolished were the Internal Security Act 1960, Banishment Act 1959 and Restricted Residence Act 1933.

Najib told participants attending the Transformation of Security and Fundamental Rights Legislation Conference that the decision to amend, abolish and replace certain laws was not made for political expediency but because the government had listened to the people's concerns and aspirations.

"In essence, we did it because it was the right thing to do," he said, stressing that the Government was also committed to protecting the rule of law, constitution and judicial system.

The prime minister said unlike some countries, Malaysia had never experienced a coup d'etat because the principle of "civilian supremacy" was respected, adding neither would there be a one-party system.

"However, we sometimes forget that even though the social unity enjoyed by the people is solid, it can be destroyed if we do not tackle issues wisely," he said.

Najib said to prevent the country from chaos, the rights and freedom of individuals must be balanced with collective interest, adding the concept of freedom, rights and security was important to achieve social justice.

"As we approach 2020, we need to progress not only in terms of the economy but must also ensure the contestation of ideas exist in every spectrum.

"The government will continue to be open to different ideas and views because it represents democracy," he added.

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