Cenbet: Form bipartisan panel to oversee agencies under Parliament

Nine government agencies will now report directly to Parliament as part of a major restructuring of the Prime Minister’s Department. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Centre For A Better Tomorrow (Cenbet) today called for the setting up of a parliamentary select committee to oversee several key agencies now placed under Parliament.

Cenbet vice-president Simon Lim Seng Chai said the bipartisan committee would help ensure sufficient checks and balances even if Parliament is dominated by one party or coalition.

Cenbet vice-president Simon Lim Seng Chai.

“This will underline the government’s commitment to institutional reforms pledged before the last general election,” he said in a statement.

According to media reports, nine government agencies will now operate independently and report directly to Parliament in a major restructuring of the Prime Minister’s Department.

The agencies include the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), the Election Commission and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

The others are the Public Prosecutor’s Office, Audit Department, Public Service Commission, Education Service Commission and the Judicial Appointments Commission.

Lim, a senior lawyer, said the decision would enhance transparency and accountability.

“Being powerful agencies funded by public money, they rightfully should report directly to Parliament. These institutions are not to serve the government of the day, but to ensure that the people’s interests are upheld,” he said.

He said there had previously been a widespread perception that many of these key institutions lacked independence.

Having these institutions report directly to Parliament would free them from undue political interference and pressure, he added.

“This will lay the foundation for a freer, inclusive and more open Malaysia.”