Why exclude the Ministers and Deputy Ministers from the scrutiny of Ombudsman?

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Media Statement By YB Chong Chieng Jen:

The Ombudsman, an independently elected official would take on the crucial role of investigating and resolving disputes between citizens and public officials, investigating maladministration, corruption, abuse of power, and the misappropriation of public funds. The Ombudsman would also complement the efforts of other anti-corruption enforcement agencies as well as provide additional checks and balances to our current system.

Four essential Characteristics of an Ombudsman:

1.         Independence

  • The bedrock of all Ombudsman institution

2.         Impartiality and Fairness

  • People are more likely to file a complain when they see the Ombudsman as fair and impartial.

3.         Credible Review Process

  • Requiring all agencies’ staff to cooperate and give full access of document and information to the Ombudsman
  • Publishing and publicising the recommendation and findings after investigation

4.         Confidentiality

  • Complainant fear reprisal

Applicability of the Ordinance – Clause 2

  • Definition of “Public Service Agencies”
  • Question: Does it include Sarawak Energy Berhad?

Clause 5: Appointment by TYT

Suggestion:     Should include the term “at the advice of the Premier”

  • Constitution of the Ombudsman should include one recommended from the legal professional body (independence and also dispute resolution function of Ombudsman) 
  • Approval of a supermajority of the member of the Legislative body (DUN), to ensure independence.

Clause 22 (4)

Should inform the complainant in either case, not only if the case is dismissed

Clause 34(2)

New Zealand Ombudsman Act

19(6)    Except on the trial of any person for perjury within the meaning of the Crimes Act 1961 in respect of his sworn testimony, no statement made or answer given by that or any other person in the course of any inquiry by or any proceedings before an Ombudsman shall be admissible in evidence against any person in any court or at any inquiry or in any other proceedings, and no evidence in respect of proceedings before an Ombudsman shall be given against any person.

Clause 34 Power to Arrest (Unnecessary)

  • Subject to abuse.
  • Staff not trained for arresting procedure
  • Excessive physical force may be applied
  • Detention procedure not provided

Clause 38 detention beyond 24 hours

Clause 45 & 46

There is no independence of the office of the Ombudsman.

Chief Administrator appointed by Minister. 

CEO and staff all from government civil servants Section 45

No clause on the financial provision for the Ombudsman office, very much dependent on the Executive budget.

Second Schedule – Exclusion of the Ministers and deputy ministers from investigation.

Half-baked legislature