PETALING JAYA • A number of Malaysian agencies have begun operating from yesterday as entities independent of the Prime Minister's Department, and will instead report directly to Parliament.
They include the Election Commission, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, the Public Prosecutor's Office and the National Audit Department.
Some other agencies that will also report to Parliament as part of a massive overhaul of the PM's Department are the Public Service Commission, Education Service Commission and Judicial Appointments Commission.
The move is aimed at making these units accountable to a bipartisan Parliament, rather than being beholden to the government of the day.
The new administration has also said it was making staff cuts to reduce costs as several agencies have similar functions to one another.
In a June 26 letter sighted by The Star, Chief Secretary to the Government Ali Hamsa approved the abolition of 10 departments and 19 other smaller divisions or offices that were previously grouped under the PM's Department.
There were also mergers and redesignation of agencies and officers in 40 units.
The government is also removing former Cabinet ministers who were on the payroll of the previous government. They are called special envoys and the positions carry the perks of a minister.
Malaysia's special envoy on infrastructure to India and South Asia S. Samy Vellu will have his services terminated when his contract ends at the end of the year.
Another office, that of the special envoy to China, will be abolished. Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting had relinquished his post in January.
Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim, who was the Socio-Cultural Adviser to the Government, also had his services ended last Saturday, along with the expiry of his contract.
Meanwhile, the Attorney-General's Chambers is still under the Prime Minister's Department but its prosecuting functions have been placed under the Public Prosecutor's Office.
The Legal Aid Department and Insolvency Department will also be merged with the Law and Judiciary Ministry.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK