Institutional Reforms |  

Institutional Reforms

Posted on September 18, 2018


Separation of Powers of the Government
When we mention the government of Malaysia, who exactly are we referring to? Most people would associate the government to mean the Prime Minister, the politicians, the civil servants, the police force or anyone deemed to be working for the government.  Are we informed of how the different government institutions are structured and why it is important for them to be able to function independently of one another? In order to understand the reforms that the people have asked for, which the new government is considering, we need an insight into the base structure of our government and understanding of how the government machinery is supposed to work in totality.  

What is the Government?
Simply put, the government of Malaysia comprises three distinct branches separately by function. 

The Cabinet is the executive branch that of elected Members of Parliament who are selected by the Prime Minister to be Ministers responsible for their respective portfolio. They are given the authority to execute and enforce rules of law.  

The second branch is the legislative that comprises members known as Members of Parliament (MPs) from both the governing and opposing political parties who are elected by the rakyat at the general election.  Parliament has a legally unchallengeable authority to create amend and repeal rules of law. Regardless of their political party representation, they are supposed the voice of the rakyat to agree or disagree with the legislation of laws and policies. 

The third is the judiciary arm of the country which enforces the laws enacted by the legislative branch.  The courts are to interpret the laws and ensure that they are obeyed.



The Importance of Institutional Independence

Why do the government institutions need to be independent of each other? 

Based on the Trias Politica principle, each branch of the government must exercise the power, duties and responsibility entrusted to them with full authoritarian free of interference and manipulation.  Only in this way the abuse and misuse of power can be prevented and the government system is able to uphold good governance in governing the country.

It is important that no one branch of the government is allowed to assert their power or overrule the decisions of other branches.  There are clear boundaries separating the functions and authorities of each branch which cannot be overstepped by the other.

A case in point, the 1MDB scandal, is a good recent example as to how the malfunctioned system was not able to perform the proper check-and-balance of the scandal even though detailed allegations of wrongdoings were openly and widely published by the media.

prevent the concentration of unchecked power and to provide for checks and balances to avoid autocracy or inefficiencies.


Taxes, Levies and Tariffs
Either GST or SST, the consumers have to pay more for their purchases.  GST taxes the consumers at the point of purchase while SST taxes the producer or importer at the point of their purchase, who will, in turn, build in the taxes paid into the price of goods.  Either way, consumers have to pay more for goods.