3b: Parliamentary Reform
This policy area encapsulates the aspirations of our People to have a functioning
Parliament and elected politicians who serve the rakyat effectively.
I: Appointment of Heads of Key Public Institutions
The power to appoint and fire heads of public institutions such as the Royal
Malaysian Police force (PDRM) and the MACC rests upon one person, the prime
minister. This can be a problem if we have a corrupt and immoral prime minister.
(Noh, Proposal 3B-1)
1. Key heads of public institutions must be appointed by the respective
parliamentary select committee.
Reinforce the parliamentary select committee system to undertake the oversight
of Executive functions and initiation of bills, and other tasks in accordance with
(G25 Malaysia, Proposal 3B-2)
Key public officers besides the heads of departments and agencies should
indicate a thorough understanding of, and appreciation for, human rights in order
to put a stop to human rights infringements such as the death penalty, torture, ill-
treatment and deaths in custody.
(Ng Yap Hwa, Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy, Proposal 3B-3)
II: Accountable & Responsible Government
A major problem concerning the composition and quality of parliament is related
to the competency and capability of our elected lawmakers, irrespective of their
2. Set up an Ombudsman Office.
A public complaints channel is an important first step towards ensuring
appropriate actions can be taken on politicians or civil servants who have
committed wrongdoing in public service.
(Uli Jon Rock, Proposal 3B-4)
In 2018, the Pakatan Harapan government announced that the Public
Complaints Bureau would be replaced by an Ombudsman Office, empowered by
an Ombudsman Act to ensure a more effective management of public
complaints in Malaysia. The bill that would enable the establishment of such a
mechanism, however, was not tabled in 2019, nor the following year. The lack of
political will in this matter is puzzling, for there is a precedent for such a set-up,
with the Ombudsman for Financial Services already in place since 2016.
III. Distribution of Constituency Development Funds
One of the informal but most visible duties of an elected representative is to
secure funding for their constituencies (otherwise known as constituency
development funds, or CDFs) in order to carry out minor projects, repair works
and welfare assistance work in their constituencies. This need has been exploited
by the ruling party to influence both elected representatives and voters into
3. Institute reforms for an equitable CDF.
To prevent misuse of CDFs for political gains, the following reforms must
i. Make elected local government bodies the gatekeepers of these funds.
ii. Devise a formula for equitable CDFs.
iii. Institute accounting transparency for the CDF.
4. Allocate funds for each MP or state assembly representative to pay the
salaries of their service centre staff.
These amounts should be included in the CDF as well.
IV: Political Financing
Political parties should be publicly funded and a law should be enacted to
regulate the political financing system. In the absence of legislative safeguards,
there is a glaring lack of transparency and accountability–any individual or
corporation can give any amount of money to any political party or candidate
they like, creating fertile ground for corruption, patronage and cronyism.
5. Allocate funds to the political parties according to the percentage of
votes they won in the last elections nationwide.
This percentage has to be above a certain threshold.
Some of these recommendations will require legislative change (e.g. an
Ombudsman Act), while others can be instituted immediately if there is political
will (e.g. strengthening parliamentary select committees). These topics are not
new and hence merely require more push for implementation. It is our hope that
the government will take note of these recommendations and outline the steps
for implementation. While not comprehensive, the recommendations provide
enough solid grounding for future elected representatives to be empowered to
discharge their duties effectively and to be accorded equal treatment by the ruling
government irrespective of their political affiliation, which is an important
consideration in view of the fluid political state over the past two years that is
likely to last for some time.
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For a better and fairer electoral system and to eliminate cronyism, corruption and