Past Events

1 Dec’16 – Upgrading Democracy: Soft Laws, Good Laws and Human Rights

upgrading democracy updated

Penang Institute, in collaboration with the Wawasan Open University (WOU) is proud to bring you a seminar entitled Upgrading Democracy: Soft Laws, Good Laws and Human Rights. You are cordially invited to attend this seminar as scheduled below:-

Date     : 1st December 2016 (Thursday)
Time    : 8.00pm – 10.00pm (Registration starts at 7.30pm)
Venue : Lecture Theater 2, Wawasan Open University

What is democracy, and how do you guard the elected guardians and other public officials in a democracy?
Democracy is more than a mechanism to elect the Government once every few years. A true democracy requires democratic governance: effective and robust mechanisms to keep the Executive honest, and ensure that the Executive does not abuse its powers, acts fairly, and works hard for the people. Benchmarks such as accountability, transparency, fairness and independence are useful indicators of democratic governance.

In many older democracies, ‘soft law’ institutions have been established and evolved to play a critical role in democratic governance, far from the glare of publicity surrounding Court cases. Without relying on litigation, the Courts or even a written Constitution, these mechanisms operate effectively on a day-to-day basis to shape the conduct and thinking of public officials.  

‘Good laws’ play a critical role in democratic governance. Laws should meet certain criteria to be ‘fit for purpose’ in a democratic society.  Amongst those criteria is general compatibility with international benchmarks and international best practices. International human rights norms are the ‘common law’ of common sense.
Therefore, the question is, looking at the current situation of Malaysia’s democracy, what could be done to upgrade democracy in Malaysia?

Mr Roy Lee, a lawyer with a degree from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. He is vastly experienced and has practised public law, drafted legislation and consulted numerous countries in Asia and Australasia. His work includes drafting legislation, advising law enforcement and prison officers, advising on regulatory enforcement and prosecutions, and advising on the interpretation and application of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.  

7.30pm – Registration
8.00pm – Welcoming Address by Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye, Vice Chancellor of WOU
8.10pm – Opening Remarks by Penang Institute
8.15pm – Talk: Upgrading Democracy – by Mr Roy Lee
9.30pm – Q&A session moderated by Dr Wong Chin Huat, Penang Institute
10.00pm – Adjourn

FREE ADMISSION! Due to limited seats, registration is encouraged. Kindly register your interest at this link.