Kuala Lumpur, 3 July 2018: IDEAS welcomes the government’s move to overhaul the Prime Minister’s Department. This move is in line with Pakatan’s manifesto promise in the Buku Harapan. Some of these agencies, such as Permata and PR1MA, have been redesignated to other Ministries, where they will hopefully be better managed. The abolishment of certain questionable agencies under the PMD, such as Institut Wasatiyyah Malaysia and Brandworth Corporation is also welcomed, as the functions of these agencies have been unclear in the past. IDEAS Coordinator of Democracy and Governance, Aira Azhari comments “It is very encouraging that the government has prioritised this rationalisation. Over the last few years, the PMD has become an opaque, unaccountable behemoth that is a strain on the government’s coffers. Moving agencies to Ministries with more relevant expertise also means that they will be overseen by Ministers who are more well-equipped to handle the issues they will face.”
IDEAS also welcomes the move to allow certain agencies to operate independently and report to Parliament directly, such as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the Election Commission (EC). As part of the GIAT coalition, IDEAS has helped advocate for the independence of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Election Commission – amongst other agencies – which are required for a transparent and fair democratic system. “While we applaud the declaration by the Government that these agencies be accountable to Parliament, we are also looking forward for further details on how this independence will be achieved structurally. For example, the MACC Act and the SUHAKAM Act already stipulates that the Annual Reports of these two agencies should be submitted to Parliament. The question here is, why are these reports never debated? We also urge that the MACC, EC and SUHAKAM commissioners to be able to answer questions by MPs directly, instead of going through respective Ministries. This will also prevent political interference in the operations of these agencies.”
The prosecutorial functions of the AG’s Chambers has also been moved to the Public Prosecutor’s Office. “Perception-wise, this looks good, though I would appreciate more clarification on how this Public Prosecutor’s Office will be structured and governed. I would also like to remind the government that meaningful change on this issue will not be achieved without amending Article 145 of the Federal Constitution and the Criminal Procedure Code,” comments Aira.
IDEAS would also like to congratulate all the remaining ministers and deputy ministers in the Pakatan Harapan administration who took their oath of office today in front of the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong. The complete cabinet lineup has immediately shown to be more diverse in terms of gender and race, thus showing a more accurate representation of the Malaysia we live in. There is also significant youth representation in the new Cabinet, which signals a government more open to dynamism and new ideas. The appointments of Ministers and Deputy Ministers such as YB Yeo Bee Yin, YB Ong Kian Ming and YB Syed Saddiq is a good indication of merit-based appointments which should be the norm for any country. IDEAS wishes the new Malaysian Cabinet best of luck in conducting their duties with full responsibility and without fear or favour.