January 18, 2019

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Good morning. A recap of Day 4 at the UK Parliament. We had a relatively less hectic day with only 4 meetings. We started the morning looking at the workings of IPSA, a very important body that manages and sets the pay and office budget of MPs. Unlike Malaysia, MPs in UK do not get money to spend on their community. In UK politics, community money is frowned upon as vote buying. IPSA also monitors and makes accountable the spending of UK MPs and their offices. The creation of IPSA (Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority) is a major development to reduce cronyism, patronage politics and bring about greater financial accountability and transparency. We have to create and legislate a Malaysian IPSA as soon as possible.

After that we had a meeting on special additional funding for small opposition political parties, to level the playing field dominated by Conservative and Labour. This was followed by a briefing by the Institute for Government, where we discussed how to make the executive accountable to Parliament.

We then had lunch and celebrated the Speaker Dato Ariff’s 70th birthday. Incidentally, it was also my wife’s birthday. We had a simple lunch at a restaurant in a public area of Parliament called Porticullis House. It’s basically like a fancy food court.

After lunch we had meetings with the officers with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK, our host and organiser. We discussed the 20 meetings we had and provided feedback. We returned back to the hotel at 4.30 pm. I had a short nap and then went to John Lewis and Hamleys.

Today, I will check out of my hotel after a final meeting with my colleagues. I will move to a more modest hotel about 1km away at Bayswater. I will stay 2 extra days, watch Macbeth at the Globe tonight, visit museums and catch up with friends and Tania Loke, my former P104 officer.