Public sector governance: Filling the gaps — Latifah Merican Cheong

Source: The Malay Mail Online


opinion-clipart-k12118272MARCH 1 — Good governance is not a panacea for strong economic performance. But good, well designed economic policies show bad results when the implementation is not done with a good governance framework.

Case studies show that countries which prioritises developing governance capabilities of the public sector and the political leadership enables strong sustainable growth to happen.

At the forum on governance of Parliament to exercise oversight over the Executive in August 2016, the Malaysian Economic Association brought in MPs and parliamentary experts from the UK, Australia, India, Indonesia and our own MPs to debate on the value of parliamentary committees as an enabling mechanism for MPs to exercise oversight over the Executive and ensure accountability of government.

On February 13-14, 2017, MEA followed up with its second forum on economic governance with a discussion on the governance of the public sector itself.

The public forum and the closed-door round-table covered the evolution of the public sector governance framework, the ethics and transparency dimension of this framework and the efficacy of the governance framework for the implementation of economic and financial policies. Read more

Blow the whistle — Gurdial Singh Nijar

Source: The Sundaily

(Deputy President, HAKAM)

Whistleblowers-Act-2010BLOW the whistle” if you spot illegal, unethical or questionable acts, says Bank Negara. This is part of its policy to improve governance of banks and other financial institutions.

In the last 12 months, two key banks were fouled for non-compliance of laws. AmBank Group was slapped with a fine of RM53.7 million. The CIMB Group was required to initiate an independent review of its processes relating to the transfer of US$7 million for questionable purposes. The chairman of AmBank Group, which is at the centre of the 1MDB money trail, said that money launderers are getting smarter despite tougher regulations.

Bank Negara’s freshly-minted guidelines include a detailed whistleblowing policy that all banks and financial institutions must implement. They must set up a comprehensive system that allows for complaints to be made not only within the bank structure but to other regulators or law-enforcement agencies. Third parties dealing with banks – such as contractors and consultants – must be informed of this policy. And there must be periodic reporting and monitoring to oversee and assess that the policy is implemented and working effectively.

These guidelines could not come at a more propitious time – given the battering of Malaysia’s image internationally involving money laundering.

The guidelines actually operationalise the 2010 Whistleblower Protection Act – which was put in place to combat corruption and other wrongdoings. It is meant to encourage employees and others to report certain kinds of wrongdoing – whether in the public or private sector. As a whistleblower you’re protected by law – you shouldn’t be treated unfairly or lose your job or suffer any form of direct or indirect adverse consequence because you “blow the whistle”. Read more

Why Malaysia’s good grades in an anti-money laundering report don’t matter

Source: The Malay Mail Online

ANALYSIS, Sept 22 ― Malaysia received good grades in an international report on its fight against money laundering, but the news barely caused a ripple and public perception of corruption remains negative.

International newswire Reuters reported last Wednesday a draft report by Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international organisation that monitors how countries combat illicit financial flows, as saying that Malaysia has a “robust policy framework” as well as a “strong political commitment and well-functioning coordination structures” to fight money laundering.

“Improving anti-money laundering laws is only one part of good governance. Equally important, if not more so, is improving accountability of public finances and the management of domestic resources. There is a perception that the former may have improved; the latter has not,” Asian Development Bank lead economist (trade and regional cooperation) Jayant Menon told Malay Mail Online. Read more

A return to the Constitution

Source: The Star Online

Dr Shad Saleem: ‘If aurat is the issue, then why doesn’t the same law apply to Muslim men who compete in bodybuilding championships?

It is important for us to defend our recourse for judicial challenge against discriminatory laws that curb our civil liberties, including Syariah laws, say constitutional experts.

WHEN the Court of Appeal declared a state syariah law criminalising cross-dressing as unconstitutional last year, many felt that the landmark ruling has nothing to do with them.

They are wrong, says Bar Council constitutional law committee co-chair Firdaus Husni.

The decision impacts all of us, says Firdaus.

As she points out, the ruling upholds four out of the nine basic human rights promised under the Federal Constitution: Article 5 which guarantees the right to live with dignity, Article 8 that ensures gender equality, Article 9 for freedom of movement and Article 10 for freedom of speech and expression. Read more