The Star Online 10 September 2015

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia improved on its budget oversight conducted by the Auditor-General and budget transparency ratings.

It, however, did badly in the budget oversight by legislature and public participation, according to the Global Open Budget Survey.

The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) was given the chance to contribute to the final global index by conducting the research.

Ideas researcher Seri Murniati said on Thursday that Malaysia scored 67 out of 100 in the Budget Oversight category, particularly details provided by the Auditor-General.

This indicates that the A-G’s office is performing adequately by Global standards.

When it comes to budget oversight by the legislature, we only got 15, and it’s considered weak, Seri Murniati said.

“The reason behind it is because the parliamentarians have limited research capacity and they have no knowledge on the Budget before it is tabled, giving them no time to scrutinise and suggest ways to improve the Budget,” said Seri Murniati.

In 2012, Malaysia only scored 39 out of 100 in budget transparency but in 2015, increased it by seven points to 46.

According to the survey, it was still a low score as it showed that the Malaysian government provided limited information to the public.

The country did not do too well when it comes to public participation, obtaining only 12 out of 100.

“The Malaysian government is considered weak when it comes to providing the public with opportunities to engage in the Budget process,” she said.

The Open Budget Survey is an international survey to assess the transparency and accountability of government budgeting.

The survey covers 102 countries and uses internationally-accepted criteria developed by organisations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI).

The entire global research took approximately 18 months between March 2014 and September 2015 and involved about 300 experts in 102 countries.

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