By Member of the Board of Governor, Datuk Simon Lim Seng Chai on the ROS' Latest Directive to the DAP
Sunday, July 09, 2017
Government agencies like the Registrar of Societies (ROS) needs to draw up, and stick to a SOP on administrative decisions that have political implications, to avoid being accused of being a tool of the ruling government. The ROS' latest directive for the DAP to hold fresh polls for its CEC has only fueled public suspicion of government interference. 

The public is understandably puzzled why the ROS took more than three years before asking the party to hold re-election. The timing could not have been worse  as the Prime Minister's press aide had just days earlier revisited the old issue of the party's disputed 2012 and 2013 internal polls and questioned the legitimacy of the its central leadership. This was followed by DPM and Home Minister's meeting with the ROS on this matter. All these only lend credence to the narrative about political meddling.

The ROS and all other government agencies should not only be independent and professional in carrying out their duties, but be seen to be so. To do so, it is imperative that they draw up a clients' charter and SOP, especially on politically-sensitive decisions, if they have not already. And these must be adhered to in the strictest possible terms. 

For example, the ROS should spell out the maximum processing time after receiving complaints from aggrieved members of political parties. Bureaucrats should also make decisions independent of input from members of the administration, even if they were just in consultations. 

Having a proper and transparent SOP and clients' charter in place, and adhering to them, can help dispel the perception that agencies like the ROS are under the thumbs of Putrajaya. When these are in place, agencies cannot be accused of dragging their feet for political motives. It also helps enhance transparency and good governance - values which CENBET promotes.


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