KUALA LUMPUR: The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) has proposed All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) as practised in the United Kingdom.
They can be the learning grounds for lawmakers to discuss issues like corruption and oversight over government affairs, added Ideas Chief Executive Wan Saiful Wan Jan in a paper at a conference in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.
An APPG is a grouping in the UK Parliament that is composed of politicians from all political parties.
Wan Saiful said APPGs could be a better alternative over parliamentary committees, which require significant political will and government approval.
Wan Saiful also proposed that hearings for parliamentary committees be made public.
“The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and other parliamentary committees should hold public hearings.”
The media would then not have to depend on hearsay, he argued. “They would be able to report in a factual way.”
Wan Saiful was speaking at the “National Economic Governance: Role of Parliamentary Committees” conference, organised by the Malaysian Economic Association (MEA).
He warned that without a systematic mechanism for transparency, there would be no accountability from ministries and government agencies.
“Malaysia suffers from a culture which lacks transparency and accountability.”
Not surprisingly, he said, corrupt practices continue to plague Malaysia.
In the past, there had been many scandals involving misuse of government funds, ranging from the BMF scandal and PKFZ to NFC and 1MDB, he reminded.
“This continuous misuse of state funds and assets is reflected in indicators such as the Corruption Perception Index and the Open Government Barometer.”
The country has been languishing at mediocre and frankly unacceptable levels in these indices, he lamented.
Again, he called for government expenditure to be closely monitored. “This requires oversight from outside the Executive.”
The conference saw former Deputy Prime Minister Musa Hitam giving the keynote address.