Honesty, transparency needed in distribution of RM250b stimulus package — TI-M

MARCH 31 — Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) welcomes the new Perikatan Nasional Government's intentions to help ease the burden of the rakyat during this Covid-19 pandemic. However, trust is not won over by luxurious and glittering handouts but by honesty and transparency.

The whopping RM250 Billion economic stimulus package sounds hopeful but leaves a lot of unanswered questions: How is this stimulus package going to be funded? More clarity from the government is needed on this as the explanation given so far from Finance Minister is still vague.

Do the new Government and Cabinet, which have yet to demonstrate majority support of Parliament, have the necessary mandate to spend this much money? Some have suggested the need for a special parliamentary sitting to debate on this stimulus package and get Parliament’s endorsement.

The government should give some serious thought to this suggestion while continuing needed urgent aid to the people. This is because once it is endorsed by Parliament it will not only demonstrate transparency on the part of the government but also give it more credibility.

What mechanism will be applied to ensure transparency in the distribution of funds to businesses and employers? So far this is not clear and the government should explain how it will for example prevent any abuse of the RM5.9 billion being given to employers “to assist in retaining their workers”?

The government needs to clarify what mechanisms are in place for this and other disbursement of funds to be monitored.

Let us not forget; in the past funds meant for the public were channeled through some middle men with mark ups and at the end of the gravy train, the public did not get the full benefit of the fund.

This is why the government must be transparent and explain how these funds are going to be disbursed and who are involved so that both the civil servants and the general public can keep an eye on this and blow the whistle if there are any wrong doings detected.

What the rakyat needs in these unprecedented times is what this “new but previous” government must rise up to to show it has changed — demonstrate honesty and transparency.

In this time of need for economic survival and indeed the very health and safety of our nation, we will not condone any politically flavoured business bailouts and election-type treats solely to benefit those in power.

* Press statement issued by Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) on March 31, 2020.

** This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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