Selangor Journal
The Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya. — Picture by BERNAMA

Govt mulls proposed establishment of Ombudsman Malaysia — Minister

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 17 — The government is mulling the establishment of Ombudsman Malaysia, an independent body to address the wide range of public complaints against government departments or agencies.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said it was in line with the Unity Government’s agenda which emphasises transparency and integrity.

“One of the problems is that we know that government officers are protected under the constitution, and cannot be sacked (if they committed an offence). The worst-case scenario is they will be transferred elsewhere. So if the public is dissatisfied, they can lodge their complaints,” she said.

Azalina was speaking to reporters after attending the Institutional Reform Workshop with civil society organisations (CSOs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) here today.

She added that she also hope the workshop would be able to come out with suggestions and recommendations on how the establishment of the independent body could be realised.

The proposal for the establishment of Ombudsman Malaysia to replace the Public Complaints Bureau (PCB) was made in 2018 by then-prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as an effort to ensure that all complaints relating to government ministries, departments and agencies could be addressed more effectively.

In her speech earlier, Azalina said the existing legal aid system namely under the Department of Legal Aid and the National Legal Aid Foundation would be reviewed to increase the quality of service and access to justice.

In fact, she said the Legal Aid Act 1971 would also be amended if necessary.

In order to adapt to the country’s situation in the era of Industrial Revolution 4.0 and post-pandemic, Azalina said the competitiveness of Malaysia’s economy needs to be improved not only in terms of information infrastructure but also the legal framework.

Hence, she said the Legal Profession Act 1976, Sale of Goods Act 1957, Contracts Act 1950 and the Insolvency Act 1967 will be reviewed.

— Bernama

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