February 11, 2009
Launch of Open Budget Index
How transparent is our Malaysian National Budget?
While I was part of the CPPS, I conducted the country-level research on the Open Budget Initiative. This fed into an international index, which will be launched this Friday.
The Open Budget Index will for the first time include Malaysia on its list. The scores for Malaysia show we have a pretty low ranking – scoring about 35% out of a potential 100% – that can be viewed here. The government of Malaysia provides minimal to little information on the budget, which is the second lowest possible rank that a country can have. The range is “Extensive”, “Significant”, “Minimal” and “Scant to None”. See Malaysia’s full report here. We have a long way to go in ensuring that budget documents provide fuller information to the public so we know what taxpayers’ money is being spent on.
Budget transparency is important because the national budget is one of the most crucial documents. This is the document that determines the entire financial health of the country in any particular year.
In Malaysia, the proposal provides some information to the public,
meaning citizens have a general, albeit incomplete, picture of the
government’s plans for taxing and spending for the upcoming year.
Moreover, it is somewhat difficult to track spending, revenue collection
and borrowing during the year. Even though in-year reports are published,
they are incomplete, and a mid-year review is not released to the public.
Publishing this document could strengthen public accountability by
providing a more comprehensive update on how the budget is being
implemented during the year.
I won’t divulge too much information here, since the launch will be on Friday. All are invited to the launch, which will have representatives from the CPPS making presentations on the research that was conducted to showing how publicly available budget information has been. Click here for more information on the launch.
Date: 13th February 2009 (Friday)
Time: 9.30am – 11.00am
Venue: Ballroom 2 – Level 1, Corus Hotel, Jalan Ampang 50450 Kuala Lumpur