Lack of government data hindering Parliamentarians, says Open Data advocate

28 Sep 2016 / 19:23 H.

    GEORGE TOWN: The lack of government data for lawmakers may make it difficult for Parliamentarians to do their work in formulating policies to benefit the people.
    Open Data advocate Khairil Yusof, who coordinates the Sinar Project website, said Malaysian MPs have asked for statistics 735 times in their questions to Parliament since 2013.
    He said the word "jumlah" (totals) appeared 3,453 times and this showed lawmakers were spending their time asking for information and statistics which should be readily available.
    "They are wasting time in asking for information which should have been available to the public in the first place," he said in a forum on using Open Data to fight corruption and improve transparency and enhance accountability today.
    Khairil said even data like attendance of MPs and their curriculum vitae (CV) were hard to come by, adding that he only had CVs of 66 out of 222 MPs.
    "Imagine if you want to hire someone, you would want to know their work history," he said.
    Another panelist, Michael Canares said Open Data benefited the government and the community by providing information to the public.
    "Government data should be open by default, and exceptions should be limited," the Open Data Lab Jakarta Regional Research Manager said.
    In her presentation earlier, Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) COO Tricia Yeoh said Open Data initiatives could include public officials asset disclosures.
    She also suggested that the Penang government should open up data to the public like how much was allocated and spent on the state and local council budget, tenders and procurements.

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