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A Glorious Time For Malaysia

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Public Sector

A Glorious Time For Malaysia

But while we celebrate, let’s remember that the road to recovery is long and important.

Millions of Malaysians celebrated the ‘Malaysian Tsunami’ last week.

Tired of the rising cost of living, coupled with its impact on everyday lives as well as various government policies that had led to many SMEs struggling to stay afloat, Malaysians from all walks of life decided it was time to change.

All, if not most, must have been feeling the same thing when they went to the ballot box that morning:

Since you refused to listen to us while you were in power, maybe a short break will help you remember the importance of listening

This, of course, is not to say that Malaysians are looking for a one-term government; on the contrary, if this new government proves itself, what Malaysians will be looking for is continued listening to their voices for the better of the nation as a whole – and if this government does that, it’s definitely going to stay.

The message can be quite clear, if those in power now are willing to hear it: No more should there be appeasement to fringe groups funded by certain parties looking to keep things a certain way so that one group or the other retains power and benefits – it is time to return to the basic principles of public policy-making where the policies put in place solves problems efficiently and effectively, serves justice, supports governmental institutions and policies, and encourages active citizenship.

Public policy-making must return to its’ rightful place where it is the principled guide to action taken by the administrative executive branches of Malaysia in a manner consistent with the law and institutional customs. The judiciary must return to its intended strength and role in interpreting national constitutional laws and applying regulations generally authorized by legislation in a way that is beneficial to the nation, not their own personal belief systems.

The government of the day must bring itself to a much higher standard than its predecessor by embracing a set of principles that have been adopted by think tanks of developed and progressive countries, known as The Five Good Governance Principles:

  1. Legitimacy and Voice:
    1. Participation – all men and women should have a voice in decision-making, either directly or through legitimate intermediate institutions that represent their intention. Such broad participation is built on freedom of association and speech, as well as capacities to participate constructively.
    2. Consensus Orientation – good governance mediates differing interests to reach a broad consensus on what is in the best interest of the group and, where possible, on policies and procedures.
  2. Direction: Strategic Vision – leaders and the public have a broad and long-term perspective on good governance and human development, along with a sense of what is needed for such development. There is also an understanding of the historical, cultural and social complexities in which that perspective is grounded.
  3. Performance:
    1. Responsiveness – institutions and processes try to serve all stakeholders.
    2. Effectiveness & Efficiency – processes and institutions produce results that meet needs while making the best use of resources.
  4. Accountability & Transparency:
    1. Accountability – decision-makers in government, the private sector and civil society organizations are accountable to the public, as well as to institutional stakeholders. This accountability differs depending on the organizations and whether the decision is internal or external.
    2. Transparency – transparency is built on the free flow of information. Processes, institutions and information are directly accessible to those concerned with them, and enough information is provided to understand and monitor them.
  5. Fairness :
    1. Equity – all men and women have opportunities to improve or maintain their well-being.
    2. Rule of Law – legal frameworks should be fair and enforced impartially, particularly the laws on human rights.

Initially developed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in 1997, these Principles have been proven time and time again to promote healthy nations which in turn go on to impress other countries worldwide. (A good example would be Ireland, which surprised many to be viewed as the country most closest to practicing Islamic values of opportunity and justice in 2014).

Yes, it’s true that these principles often overlap or are conflicting at some point, and yes, it’s true that they play out in practice according to the actual social context. Yet the reality remains that applying such principles is complex, and that they are all about not only the results of power but how well it is exercised.

A lot now remains to be seen as to whether this new government is going to be able to keep itself grounded in its new role as the ruling party after being the Opposition for so long.

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is an Author, Trainer and Consultant in the areas of Entrepreneurship, Communication, Organizational Development and Project Management. Some of his past successes include restructuring a private University to enable an increase in student numbers, and serving the Malaysian government as a Communications Consultant as part of its profile building efforts. He is now focused on success building of individuals and organizations.

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