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Monitoring quality of project implementation

  • The public have become gradually conditioned to accepting poor quality services in government departments and offices.

By Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam

The public will congratulate Chief Secretary Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa for setting up a committee to monitor the implementation of programs and projects under Budget 2018.

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

But many questions will arise in the public's mind as follows:

1. Will this useful committee monitor the implementation of only Budget 2018 projects and programs?

Should it not be clearly stated that this committee should be a permanent monitoring committee to monitor the implementation of all budget projects and programs in the future?

2. Would this implementation committee also monitor the physical maintenance of past projects?

As we all notice, many government offices, facilities and programs have been relatively neglected. Maintenance in many government buildings have become inefficient and even sadly unsafe.

Will this implementation committee review and monitor the maintenance of government buildings?

3. Will the implementation committee ensure that previously approved policies and programs will also be monitored to ensure that delivery is done according to the original goals set for these policies and programs? Or have they gone off the track and are still being funded every year without much scrutiny?

The Chief Secretary and the civil service will gain more support if this issue is clearly made known to the public.

Quality performance

4. While the implementation of budget projects can be monitored for effective and timely completion, what about the monitoring of the quality of services these projects provide to the public?

Can the implementation committee also monitor the quality of services and report back to the public?

5. The public have become gradually conditioned to accepting poor quality services in some government departments and offices. They often take poor government services for granted.

Unlike in the business sector, the public cannot avoid doing business with inefficient departments, as these departments have the monopolies to issue licenses, permits, tax concessions and exemptions, among others. Passports are now provided so much faster but can it be said for many other government service? If not, why?

Ombudsman

6. At this time when we are aiming to graduate to become a developed country by 2020, is it not timely to establish the post of 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, could the government appoint an ombudsman and approve staff for his office to receive and independently advise the implementation committee and Parliament on all public complaints?

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

Conclusion

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

Public expectations for less corruption, leakages and expenditure wastage will arise considerably. We will now hope for faster and more efficient services to the public. This public desire for better quality government services will also be raised by the realization that government has been generous in providing civil servants with more rewards for their loyal services to our beloved country.

(Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam is the Chairman of ASLI Center for Public Policy Studies.)

 

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