Building unified online public consultation

Malaysia is working with World Bank on building blocks to improve regulatory policy, management

BY HABHAJAN SINGH

Malaysia is working with the World Bank to establish a unified online public consultation with the aim to improve regulatory policy and management.

The aim of the exercise is to include better and more efficient online public consultation practices in rule-making. The underlying idea is to bump up the nation’s performance when it comes to productivity, a key element in pushing the nation’s economy forward.

“It covers the elements of transparency and accountability to the regulatory process by having an online record of what has been proposed, the reaction from the stakeholders, as well as response from the government,” Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said at a recent Malaysia Productivity Corp (MPC) event.

In the spirit of openness and transparency, he had urged all relevant stakeholders to participate in the public consultation process.

The matter was discussed at the National Convention on Good Regulatory Practice (GRP) 2017 conference held in Kuala Lumpur earlier this month. However, the speech did not provide additional details of the collaboration with the World Bank.

Also present were MITI Deputy Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan, MITI secretary general Datuk Seri J Jayasiri, MPC chairman Tan Sri Azman Hashim, MPC DG Datuk Mohd Razali Hussain and Pemudah (Special Task Force to Facilitate Business) co-chairman Tan Sri Saw Choo Boon.

In his opening speech, Mustapa noted that public consultation is one of the crucial elements of regulatory impact analysis and key to a more effective policymaking.

“Public consultation is a two-way process of communication between the government and its stakeholders,” he said.

Explaining the rationale of the conference, MPC had said in a statement that improving the government’s delivery system is vital to elevate the competitiveness of Malaysian companies and fostering a business-friendly environment which can attract more private investments.

GRP helps enhance the effectiveness, efficiency, consistency and transparency of regulations and enforcements by the regulators, it added.

Since November 2016, MPC has started to report the progress and achievement of GRP implementation in Malaysia through the Annual Report on Modernisation of Regulations.

The report aims to provide useful information on Malaysia’s regulatory reform journey as well as performance review on GRP implementation by the ministries and agencies.

It also encourages stakeholders within the government to take active roles in the rule-making process with greater adoption of GRP.

In his welcoming speech, Azman said it is to ensure a quality regulatory environment for businesses that is more responsive and dynamic towards higher value creation and better economic growth.

“Regulations are established to meet certain objectives and it is likely that the burdens will be borne by the business community in order to comply with the rules. The unnecessary regulatory burdens need to be reduced or eliminated to enhance the competitiveness of doing business in the country,” he said.

Productivity Blueprint

The government has launched the Malaysia Productivity Blueprint (MPB) with an objective of achieving the 3.7% productivity growth target set in the 11th Malaysia Plan (2016-2020).

To transform the economy, the government is currently implementing the recommendations of the blue- print through five strategic thrusts to ensure systemic changes.

The thrusts are building workforce of the future, driving digitalisation and innovation, making industry accountable for productivity, forging a robust ecosystem and securing a strong implementation mechanism, said Azman in an earlier statement.

From the viewpoint of the ministry, the recent launch of the MPB complements efforts to improve Malaysia’s competitiveness performance. The basic building block here is to forge a robust ecosystem that will check on regulatory constraints and develop regulatory accountability system which will ensure effective review, design and implementation of regulations.

“As outlined in the blueprint, ministries and agencies need to work closely with MPC to ensure policy cohesion at all government levels to drive towards accomplishing the productivity agenda,” said Mustapa.

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