Malaysiakini Letter

We should do more than monitor our projects

Ramon Navaratnam  |  Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | The public congratulates Chief Secretary Ali Hamsa for setting up a Committee to monitor the implementation of programmes and projects under the Budget 2018.

We would also welcome the inclusion of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission on this monitoring committee, so as to combat corruption and leakages, like the huge wastage of Budget expenditures.

However, there are many questions to be asked.

Will this committee monitor the implementation of only the Budget 2018 projects and programmes? Should it not be clearly stated that this committee be made a permanent monitoring committee to monitor the implementation of all budget-related projects and programmes in the future?

Secondly, would this implementation committee also monitor the physical maintenance of past projects? As we have all noticed, many government offices, facilities and programmes have been relatively neglected.

Maintenance in many government buildings has become inefficient and unsafe. Will this implementation committee review and monitor the maintenance of our government buildings?

Thirdly, will the implementation committee ensure that previously approved policies and programmes, will also be monitored to ensure that delivery is done according to the original goals set for these policies and programmes?

Or have they gone off track and yet are still being funded every year, without too much scrutiny? The Chief Secretary and our civil service will gain more support if this issue is clearly made known to the public.

Performance quality matters

While the implementation of our budget-related projects can be monitored for effective and timely completion, what about the monitoring of the quality of the services these projects provide to the public? Can the implementation committee monitor the quality of the services and report back to the public?

The public has been gradually conditioned to accept poor quality services in some of our government departments and offices. Often, the public takes poor government services for granted.

Unlike in the business sector, the public cannot avoid doing business with inefficient departments as these departments have the monopoly to issue licenses, permits, tax concessions and exemptions that they need. While passports are now provided much more efficiently, can the same be said for many other government services, and why not?

Ombudsman urgently needed

At a time when we are aiming to graduate to become a developed country by the year 2020, is it not time to establish the post of an ombudsman?

The Chief Secretary`s new implementation committee can go right ahead even before the year`s end with its pioneering and laudable mission to monitor implementation. But the government should appoint an ombudsman and approve staff for his office to receive and independently advise the implementation committee and Parliament on all public complaints.

This will serve the public's interests in a more balanced, efficient and empathetic manner and earn much more public appreciation.

The public and rakyat warmly welcome this innovative initiative by the Chief Secretary to set up this new implementation committee of the top officials in our country.

However, the public's expectations for less corruption and leakages and expenditure wastages will now arise accordingly. We will now hope for faster and more efficient services to the public. This public desires for better quality government services the realisation that Government has been generous in providing the civil service with more rewards for their loyal service to our beloved country.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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