IDEAS: 6 Institutional Reform Malaysia Urgently Needs

NGO IDEAS welcomes the new Prime Minister’s efforts in meeting together with opposition leaders to discuss the way forward in combating Covid-19, institutional reforms and good governance. Such cross-partisan effort is needed when Malaysia is still facing the COVID-19 health crisis and our most severe economic downturn since the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. 

Its encouraged by the fact that the Prime Minister and opposition leaders made clear their commitment towards institutional reforms, particularly with regards to parliament and its role as a check and balance to the power of the executive. This is unprecedented and there are hopes that efforts towards COVID-19 management will be ably demonstrated in the immediate future.

As stated by IDEAS CEO, Tricia Yeoh, “These commitments are welcomed, but they must be followed through with concrete action. Parliament must be reopened, firstly for a confidence vote to be tabled and for important policies such as the National Recovery Plan, 12th Malaysia Plan and Budget 2022 to be debated.” 

This agreement between the Prime Minister and opposition leaders will open more doors for further institutional reforms that Malaysia urgently needs, including:

  1. 1. Implementing the National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACP) to combat corruption
  2. 2. Tabling the Political Financing Bill in Parliament;
  3. 3. Separating the roles of the Attorney General (AG) and the Public Prosecutor;
  4. 4. Increasing the independence of the MACC by elevating it to a constitutional body;
  5. 5. The appointment processes of key public officers and heads of GLCs to be done transparently and independently; and
  6. 6. An independent Judiciary that is empowered to adjudicate on all cases of political corruption.

As stressed by Tricia, “Malaysia is in dire need of clear, strong leadership after 17 months of almost perpetual politicking and dysfunctional governance. In order to restore the country’s economic and social stability, our leaders must step up to make decisions that can steer the country forward in the right direction.”

“In the International Monetary Fund’s most recently published World Economic Outlook released in July 2021, growth projections for Malaysia were downgraded by 1.8%, with the economy now expected to expand by only 4.7% this year. Our deteriorating fiscal outlook and political uncertainty has made investors jittery, which will make it harder for Malaysia to plug its budget shortfall anytime soon. Now more than ever we need our leaders to put aside their differences and provide strong and stable leadership.

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