Enhancing Accountability & Integrity in the Malaysian Public Sector: Are We Doing Enough?
Tan Sri Dato’ Seti Haji Ambrin Buang
- Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan
- Datuk Seri Hj. Azmi Khalid
- Datuk Dr. Ir. Hj. Ahmad Zaidee Laidin
- Ms. Khairiah Mokhtaruddin, RSOG
- Pn. Zuraidah Musib (Moderator)
PDS 14: Enhancing Accountability and Integrity in the Malaysian Public Sector – Are we doing enough?
Integrity and accountability are the major components of ethical conduct in any organization. The issue of ethical conduct of public employees, in particular, receives a great deal of attention from international, regional and national organizations. This calls for reforms on public sector institutions to strengthen integrity, transparency and accountability, and to prevent and combat corruption. Such reforms are crucial in protecting public resources, enhancing public sector performance, and strengthening government effort in providing basic services and meeting the needs of the people.
Integrity and corruption are two opposing sides of human conduct. The likelihood of either of these conducts is primarily determined by many factors: policies, regulations, conditions, common practices, incentives/penalties as well as the prevailing norms and institutional culture. Enhancing integrity or ethical conduct and reducing corrupt or unethical behaviour among public sector employees have to start with the diagnosis and reform of their working environment.
Developing countries, in particular, face many obstacles in acquiring a larger share of the world trade and investment. The most serious ones, perhaps, are the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of the public sector, which invariably lead to endemic corruption. It requires better governance to effectively control corruption. But, combating corruption is not an easy task because of the hidden political ramification.
For overall reforms, a government needs to revitalize and transform the management of its public sector resources. Since human factor is crucial for the public sector, it is imperative that its human resources management (HRM) be transformed at the same time. Among the causes for deficiencies in HRM are failure to enforce basic principles of ethics, integrity and accountability, and the absence of clearly-defined and enforced policies to promote professionalism among the employees. Under this situation, the system is vulnerable to malpractices and corruptions, hence its inefficiency.
This Perdana Discourse Series 14 deliberates on the efforts and achievements in enhancing the accountability and integrity of Malaysia’s public sector, two critical ingredients for improving government performance, in general, and combating corruption, in particular. Among the issues to be raised in this deliberation are: (1) the strategies needed to promote integrity in the public sector; (2) the preventive measures to combat corruption; and (3) the success of these strategies and preventive measures.