Current Affairs, National, Opinion

Pahang must emulate the PH-Federal Government MoU and implement reforms for its State Assembly

Press release by ADUN for Tanah Rata, Chiong Yoke Kong on 14 September 2021:

 

Pahang State Government Should Draw Lessons From Agenda on Political Stability and Transformation by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Pakatan Harapan

 

The Pahang government recently announced that it is setting up the Pahang State Ombudsman Committee (JONP), which would be chaired by Pahang exco member Datuk Seri Mohd Soffi Abd Razak. Its members would comprise of:

 
  • The State Secretary
  • State Legal Adviser
  • State National Audit Department Director
  • State Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Director
  • State Secretary’s Office Integrity Unit Chief
  • State Secretary’s Office Internal Audit Unit Chief. 
 

The JONP will mainly focus on scrutinizing complaints related to corruption, abuse of power, malpractice, violations of the code of conduct, and organizational ethics involving the public service in Pahang which could not be solved at the departmental and agency levels.

 
Malay Mail article screenshot on the setting up of JONP.
 

The fact is that many agencies are established to monitor malpractice in the public service, such as the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Public Complaints Bureau (Biro Pengaduan Awam, BPA), National Centre for Governance, Integrity and Anti-corruption (GIACC), and so on. 

However, why are issues related to the government’s internal credibility still emerge like an endless stream? The reason behind the phenomenon is simple:

 

Without effective checks and balances from outside the government, the public has gradually lost their trust in investigative agencies. 

 

Given that the members of the newly established JONP are the persons in charge of the current enforcement agencies, it is hard to convince the public that the committee will conduct any investigations seriously. Moreover, without involving the opposition members, the ombudsman committee fails to uphold three fundamental principles which are needed for every independent agency, namely independent, fair, and trustworthy.

On the contrary, it is understandable that the public will only treat it as a new form of bureaucrats shielding one another from any accusations.  

 
ADUN for Tanah Rata, Chiong Yoke Kong.
 

The Pahang state government should draw lessons from the agenda on Political Stability and Transformation by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Pakatan Harapan (PH), particularly to reform and empower the state assembly and returning the power of checks and balances to the state assembly. 

As such, I propose three (3) suggestions to implement reforms for the Pahang State Assembly

 
  1. Acknowledging the status of the opposition leader in the state assembly and allowing opposition state assemblymen to participate in the meetings of the District Action Committee (Jawatankuasa Kerja Tindakan Daerah, JKTD) and the Disaster Operation Controlling Centres (Pusat Kawalan Operasi Bencana, PKOB)
  2. Selecting an opposition state assemblyman as the Chairman of the Pahang Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to ensure that the opposition members will be allocated with more resources to carry out effective checks and balances
  3. Making JONP and other investigative committees answerable to the state assembly and not to the state executive council, while ensuring that opposition members are included in the committees.
 

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