IDEAS: Improving budget transparency should continue under the PN Government

IDEAS Malaysia highlights improvements in score for Malaysia for Open Budget Index and the need for further improvements in light of COVID-19

Kuala Lumpur, 29 April 2020 – IDEAS congratulates the Malaysian government for improving its transparency index in the 2019 Open Budget Score (OBS). The OBS evaluates the level transparency, oversight and public participation in budget practices of 117 countries. The 2019 transparency index is measured by evaluating the content and publication of eight budget documents in 2018. The 2019 OBS, which was released today by the International Budget Partnership (IBP), saw Malaysia’s transparency score improves from 46 in OBS 2017 to 47 in OBS 2019.

The new score is a recognition of a commitment of the previous Pakatan Harapan in improving budget transparency and oversight. In its short-term in office, the coalition has improved the capacity of the legislative body for budget oversight by establishing the Parliamentary Special Select Committee in Budget. This committee has met several times to deliberate on government finances including debt and liabilities since early last year.  In fact, the government tabled the 2019 Budget Mid-year Review Budget to this committee in August 2019. Another important improvement is the disclosure of government guarantees and contingent liabilities in the Fiscal Outlook Report. The latest Fiscal Outlook even has a section evaluating Malaysia’ debt sustainability. IDEAS hopes that this section will stay as a permanent feature in the Fiscal/Economic Outlook document. Since early this year, the public can also access the Supply Act passed by parliament in the Treasury Website.

Full statement by IDEAS Malaysia