For immediate release
IDEAS proposes All Party Parliamentary Groups as first step for parliamentary reform
Kuala Lumpur, 11 August 2016 – Malaysia suffers from the absence of a culture which emphasises transparency and accountability, said Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs Chief Executive Officer Wan Saiful Wan Jan today. Speaking at the National Economic Governance: Role of Parliamentary Committees conference organised by the Malaysian Economic Association, he emphasised that without a systematic and robust mechanism to create transparency, there would be no accountability from Ministries and government agencies.
“Corrupt practices continue to plague Malaysia today, both on small and grand scales. In the past, there have been a slew of scandals concerning the misuse of government funds from the BMF scandal and PKFZ to NFC and 1MDB. This continuous misuse of state funds and assets are reflected in indicators such as the Corruption Perception Index (where Malaysia scores 50 points out of 100 for 2015) and the Open Government Barometer (where again Malaysia scores poorly at 24.9 out of 100 for 2015). The country has been languishing at mediocre and frankly unacceptable levels in these indices.”
“Government expenditure needs to be closely monitored and requires oversight from outside of the Executive.”
Wan Saiful proposed the setting up of All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) as practiced in the United Kingdom. Informal, cross-partisan, and involving both parliamentarians and non-parliamentarians, APPGs could be learning grounds for MPs and Senators to discuss pertinent issues which require attention on a cross-partisan basis, such as corruption and government oversight. In comparison to parliamentary committees which require significant political will and government approval to set up, APPGs can be done today, he stated.
“Parliamentary committees can only be our long term target. It is not something that we can expect to happen tomorrow. Formal Parliamentary committees require political will and government approval.”
In addition to that, Wan Saiful proposed that hearings for these committees to be made public. “Imagine our Public Accounts Committee, and other parliamentary committees when they are set up, having the ability to conduct public hearings. Our media would not have to depend on hearsay for their reporting. They would be able to report on issues that matter to you and I in a factual way.”
The conference saw Tun Musa Hitam giving the keynote address and the participation of Dato’ Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus,Tan Sri Dato’ Mohd Sheriff bin Mohd Kassim, Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan and Tan Sri Dr. Munir Majid.
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IDEAS is Malaysia’s first think-tank dedicated to promoting market-based solutions to public policy challenges. We are an independent not-for-profit organisation. As a cross-partisan think tank, we work across the political spectrum. Our purpose is to advance market-based principles, and we are not bound by party politics, race or religion. Our mission is to improve the level of understanding and acceptance of public policies based on the principles of rule of law, limited government, free markets and free individuals. For more information, please visit http://ideas.org.my/