World Bank lauds PEMANDU's contribution in Malaysian public sector management reform

PEMANDU is a unit under the purview of the prime minister's Office.

Picture for representation
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim takes to the stage to deliver remarks at the plenary session at the IMF-World Bank annual meetings at Constitution Hall in Washington. Reuters

The World Bank has lauded efforts taken by Malaysia's Performance Management and Delivery Unit known as PEMANDU, saying that the unit can serve as a useful case study for governments around the world.

In a report - the World Bank's inaugural Knowledge and Research Report Driving Performance from the Centre - released on Tuesday, it is noted that Malaysia's Experience with PEMANDU discloses the success and challenges faced by the unit in Malaysia's approach to performance management.

PEMANDU is a unit under the purview of the prime minister's Office.

World Bank Country Director for Southeast Asia, Ulrich Zachau, said the report distils lessons from Malaysia's strong record and experience in improving public sector management, which can be useful throughout the region and even beyond it.

"Countries worldwide struggles with the know-about to provide education, health, water, electricity, transport and telecommunication to their people effectively and affordably," Zachau added.

The report said PEMANDU's effectiveness originates from its design features and methodology.

The report also outlined how the unit worked with service delivery agencies and external stakeholders. PEMANDU's signature innovation -"Labs" had broadened the reach of its National Transformation Program among a variety of stakeholders.

Moreover, stringent monitoring and reporting of Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and incentives to deliver results were created at all levels. The unit also faced hurdles along the way, like designing the NTP through labs, which miss some important technical elements of product design. The KPIs set could have proved to be a performance driver in the government, however, it was limited by the quality of indicators and data.

"PEMANDU's experience is important in presenting both success and challenges because tradeoffs are inherent in its design features. Thus finding the right balance is important," said World Bank Senior Public Sector Specialist and report team leader, Jana Kunicova.

PEMANDU chief executive officer, Datuk Seri Idris Jala, said when the unit started, they were given the assurance in 2009 by the Prime Minister that the government was committed to pursuing sustainable and inclusive socio-economic transformation.

"The commitment proved to be catalytic and it is firmly established in the National Transformation Program (NTP)," Idris said.