Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Forestry Department Peninsular Malaysia: Organizational measures to prevent and fight corruption

It is clear that no fundamental reform will work without taking action to strengthen the governance of the institution. For people who had been used to be in comfortable zone, corruption occurred if any would have come as a shock, undermining not only the institution itself, but the public’s faith in them. The authority concern needs to address the issue seriously as failure to restore trust could fuel even more serious problems in the future.

The strengthening strategies Forestry Department Peninsular Malaysia has taken to prevent and combat corruption among their staffs are as follows:

i.      Management Integrity Committee  

Management Integrity Committee has been formed as instructed by Cabinet to strengthen the integrity of the Malaysian government administration. The objective of the forming Management Integrity Committee in Forestry Department Peninsular Malaysia is to ensure the integrity of the enforcement officials are at the level of satisfactory.

ii.     National Integrity Plan

National Integrity Plan has been formed to implement the country's National Integrity Plan for improved governance and accountability in Forestry Department Peninsular Malaysia.

iii.    Values and Ethics Code

Forestry Department Peninsular Malaysia plays an important role over these years in promoting and conducting the high standard of moral values and Ethics Code value development programs for its officials and employees in order to strengthen their commitment to public service and help promote the primacy of public interest over personal interest in the performance of their duties.

iv.    Policy and Legislation

In order to counter forest corruption, the significant steps taken by Forestry Department Peninsular Malaysia over these years are putting a great effort to implement concomitant measures, for instance the improvement of the institutional framework, policy, enforcement laws, management, implementation and monitoring processes. 

v.     Systems and Procedures

An overwhelming focus on bureaucratic procedures can be considered as one of the weakness of governmental departments which cause public to complain about having to deal with too much bureaucracy.

More often than not, necessary action has been taken by Forestry Department Peninsular Malaysia to identify and review the weaknesses on systems and procedures and make recommendations to relevant authorities in need of further improvements.  

vi.   Customer Management

In order to meet its objectives and expectations of stakeholders, the existence of an effective system of more efficient, responsive, friendly and responsive to customer needs management is very much needed.

Forestry Department Peninsular Malaysia has always insisted on a more coherent approach‚ better coordination and added value at the continuous improvement of service delivery system to meet the ever increasing expectations of stakeholders.

vii.   Internal control

Internal control is a crucial aspect of an organization’s governance and risk management systems. It is the fundamental to support the achievement of the organization’s objectives, creating and protecting stakeholder value. Often than not, it is the best defenses against failure, as well as an important driver of performance, which mitigates risk and adds sustainable value.

Successful organizations know how to exploit and manage risks, in many instances through internal control, and therefore realize long-term sustainable performance.

Realizing the importance of internal controls as an integral part of the organization's policies and procedures, the management of Forestry Department Peninsular Malaysia  established an internal control system to marshal organization’s resources to achieve her objectives.

viii.  Detection, Punitive and Rehabilitation Action

Disciplinary and code of Conduct for employee are important for every organization that wants to move forward. It is always necessary to have peace between employees, customers and clients in an organization to get the best out of the workforce.

Effective disciplinary and Code of Ethics established the disciplinary and ethical expectations for employees and management alike which sets forth the mechanisms for enforcement and consequences of noncompliance.

As one of the visionary organizations, Forestry Department Peninsular Malaysia put an effort to detect any violation of Code of Ethics, disciplinary, any form of offense or crime committed by employees and to take corrective and preventive action immediately against those involved.

ix.    Recognition and appreciation

Distinguished services, good values and morals within others are important for an organization to acquire a good image. In recognition and appreciation to the officers who showed outstanding services, values ​​and moral, awards are given to officials and employees by Forestry Department Peninsular Malaysia.

Actions that have been taken so far by the Forestry Department Peninsular Malaysia to prevent forest encroachment are as follows:

i)    Establishment of the flying squad in the headquarters and state as well as forest law enforcement teams at the district level to prevent forest encroachment and illegal logging

ii) Forestry Department Peninsular Malaysia has developed a new regulatory and enforcement strategy by creating a forest Action Plan which includes the policy implementation and enforcement actions to be implemented at the district, state and federal level for the period 2008 to 2020 to strengthen and streamline the fight against illegal logging. This is the new strategic Action Plan towards zero illegal logging

iii)  Act immediately upon receiving public complaints against all those who have encroached on forest reserve land

iv)   Monitor the operation of the factory and inspection of wood-based industry

v)    For Implementation of Standards in the performance of Malaysian Criteria and Indicators (MC & I), monitoring activities conducted on each forest harvested license area are using MS ISO 9001:2000. Each forest harvesting license area adopted the use of color-coded signs installed at each log yard license with certain information such as license number, name of contractor, license period for logging in the reserve forest, state land or land owned

vi)   Forestry Department Peninsular Malaysia has taken action to streamline the compound rates and compensation for forest offenses to further strengthen and enhance the implementation of the National Forestry Act 1984 in all states in Peninsular Malaysia. Accordingly, a circular was distributed in 2006 and became effective on July 15 2006 as a guide to set the compound and damages

vii)  Rewarding whistle blowers by offering cash rewards as an incentives for forest offense cases

viii) Collaboration with National Remote Sensing Centre (MACRES) to increase the use of remote sensing in forestry sector especially to detect illegal logging activities

ix)  Establish monitoring via satellite to detect forest encroachment

x)  To conduct extensive patrols including using a helicopter in regions where the risk of illegal logging is high

xi)   Carrying outroad blocks and “surveillance” on the roads from time to time to control the movement of logs

xii)  Conducting Enforcement Operations Integrated with other enforcement agencies such as:

a. Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency   (MMEA)

b. Royal Malaysian Police (RMP)

c. Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM)

d. Anti-Smuggling Unit (UPP)

e.Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) 

xiii) Strengthening the legal aspects of reviewing and amending the National Forestry Act 1984 to increase the existing penalties and penalty rates

xiv) In collaboration with the Judicial and Prosecution Training Institute (ILKAP) and the Royal Malaysian Police to conduct courses and training on an ongoing basis for the State Forest Department officials to enhance the knowledge of enforcement, investigation and prosecution 

xv) To address illegal logging issues, Forestry Department Peninsular Malaysia has been actively involved in establishing contacts with relevant agencies such as the NRE, Sabah Forestry Department, MTIB, MTCC, MTC and FRIM

        xvi) In addition, Forestry Department Peninsular              Malaysia has established collaborative relationships with agencies like the Ministries, Angencies outside NRE, Public Universities, NGOs and Timber Association in Malaysia.

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