Independence critical to institutions’ resilience, forum told

christopher-leongPETALING JAYA: Former Bar Council president Christopher Leong says Malaysia must ensure that its institutions are independent in order to help the country develop its resilience.

He said the resilience was not just about exercising professionalism, or having the ability to work and achieve an institution’s objectives, The Edge reported.

“You can have an authoritarian state whose institutions are very efficient, but if they are not independent, they will not have the resilience to weather changes and difficult events,” he was quoted as saying at a forum organised by the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) on Wednesday.

“One thing about the US is that you see institutions standing up, because they are independent. It is a given that they are efficient, but that alone is not enough.

“Malaysia strongly needs not only capable institutions, which we already have, but also independent institutions for resilience,” Leong said.

Former attorney-general Abdul Ghani Patail, who was also a panellist at the event, was reported as saying that transparency and accountability were key factors to contribute to the happiness of the people.

“I want assurance of independence of certain institutions as guaranteed in the (Federal) Constitution,” he was quoted as saying.

“They must be allowed to do their work properly without interference.”

Meanwhile, the financial daily reported Ideas chairman Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria as saying that Malaysia’s public sector had upheld some form of transparency when performing its tasks.

“From the civil service’s perspective, we have done our share.

“We have collaborated with couterparts in the region… Policy formulation was not done in isolation. We engaged the private sector,” said the former secretary-general of the international trade and industry ministry.

“But going forward, we need to do more. If Malaysia wants to be competitive in a world where other countries are fast catching up with us, we have to up our game.

“That is why we are talking about building resilience within institutions, higher levels of governance, integrity. These are the things that will take us to the next level,” she was quoted as saying by The Edge.

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