Scandinavia inspires Malaysia to have its first ombudsman law

Dr. Juanda on the second left with participants. Photo: Borneo Post

Sarawak will become the first state in Malaysia to present an ‘Ombudsman Bill’ when the State Legislative Assembly sits from 20 November to 29 November, The Borneo Post writes. And idea inspired by Scandinavia.

Malaysia already has an ombudsman for financial services, which however serves as an independent mechanism. But especially after a benchmark visit to Sweden and Finland, the idea of creating a likewise, yet more formal service for governmental issues is now about to be a reality, according to Deputy Minister of Integrity and Ombudsman, Datuk Dr. Juanda Jaya.

“The government is committed to all aspects of governance as well as providing an element of checks and balances,” he said at the opening ceremony of a programme with the Integrity and Ombudsman Unit in Kuching.

A historic moment

The new law will serve as a way to ‘check and balance mechanism’ for the delivery of government services to people. In other words – to ensure the government is doing its job properly and ethically, by investigating complaints against the administration.

Juanda stressed that the move is a historic moment for Malaysia, and explained how 80 participants from government-related companies and the private sector came together to brainstorm on the matter and had engagement sessions with stakeholders.

Lastly, it was also stated the state government had mandated the Sarawak Integrity Unit and Ombudsman to facilitate a Special Cabinet Committee (Cabcom) to access, examine and make recommendations on the annual financial statements as well as annual budget estimates for state statutory bodies and authorities.

“With the existence of Cabcom, hopefully, it will be able to avoid leakages in addition to ensuring that every allocation channelled by the government is used prudently and with integrity,” Juanda said, also being chairman of Cabcom.

Source: The Borneo Post

About Sofie Rønnelund

Sofie Roennelund is a journalist working with ScandAsia at the headquarters in Bangkok.

View all posts by Sofie Rønnelund

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