Monday, June 26, 2006

Ombudsman Not Suitable For Malaysia Says Government. But Why Not?

The Cabinet has decided that the Ombudsman institution similar to that set up in many countries is not suitable for Malaysia, the Dewan Rakyat was told Monday.

Nevertheless, several other Ombudsman-based concepts were being studied to be modified to the country's administrative system, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Bernard Dompok said. "A suitable concept that suits the nation's administrative system would be adopted by the Public Complaints Bureau in efforts to turn the bureau into an effective and reliable public complaints management organisation," he said.

While Tan Sri Dompok says that it is unsuitable he doesn't say why. But when he states that a 'modified' concept to suit our admin system is being studied, we begin to start doubting. He finally nails it when he says that it will be 'adoped' by the Public Complaints Bureau. Now things become a little clearer. There will be no ombudsman in the true sense of the word but merely a bureau with a fancy name and under strict government control run by civil servants who will still have to menurut perintah.

Ombudsman is an investigative commission or an independent intermediary body to enable ordinary citizens to lodge complaints on various issues including on misconduct and abuse of power. How can a government bureau act independently? We've seen the 'independence' of the ACA have we not? So people don't get your hopes up too high, too soon, for what I feel is going to be finally touted as an 'ombudsman' is nothing but another paper tiger which sooner or later will bite the dust.


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