The Ombudsman Malaysia Bill is now at the finalisation stage and is expected to be tabled at Parliament in October, according to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform) Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

Speaking at a press conference after the engagement session on the legislation for the establishment of Ombudsman Malaysia here today, Azalina said Ombudsman Malaysia’s policies would be based on the Ombudsman policies and laws in other countries such as the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

“The Bill will provide clearer functions and power of Ombudsman Malaysia, which also include management of public complaints against government departments or agencies,” she said.

On Jan 17, Azalina was reported as saying that the government is mulling the establishment of Ombudsman Malaysia, an independent body to address the wide range of public complaints against government departments or agencies in line with the Unity Government’s agenda which emphasises transparency and integrity.

An Ombudsman is normally appointed by and acts on behalf of Parliament with powers to investigate complaints against the administration, make recommendations concerning those complaints and try to have its recommendations adopted by the administration.

Azalina said the Ombudsman will not be a civil servant and the appointment is for a term of six years.

“There will be no extension. We want a direct appointment and not someone on loan,” she said.

She said among the matters discussed at the engagement session was the need of Ombudsman Malaysia to produce an annual report to be tabled and debated in Parliament, in addition to types of complaints and elements of investigation and enforcement against complaints of mismanagement of the public service delivery system.

Azalina said, so far, the Public Complaints Bureau has received 20,000 complaints, 85 per cent of which were complaints against local authorities (PBT).

“This shows that members of the public are dissatisfied with the PBT, especially at service counters. With the establishment of the Ombudsman, we want these complaints to be resolved quickly, and I also proposed that we give a deadline for each complaint to be resolved,” she said.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency