• Office of YB Wong Chen

sustainable development goal 16 forum


12th of July – It is now 4 am in New York. I just had a good 7 hours of sleep. I am looking forward to flying back to KL tomorrow, to get back to a normal time zone and rejoin Parliament.

Yesterday, at 8 am in the UK Permanent Mission to the United Nations, I joined a panel of legislators, including Hon Laura Tucker-Longsworth (the Speaker of Belize), Hon Alexandra Mendes (Vice Chair of CPA, Canada Member of Parliament) and Hon Roberta Blackman-Woods (UK Member of Parliament).

Each of us gave a 15 mins speech on how we are utilising the CPA Recommended Benchmarks in our respective Parliaments, with the view to achiev Goal 16 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals on effective, inclusive and accountable Parliaments. This was followed by a questions and answers session. The forum then continued by talks from other experts providing better guidance on SDG 16, ending just before lunch.

In the forum, I met up with the UK Ambassador to the UN, James Roscoe, and the Secretary General of Inter Parliamentary Union, Martin Chungong. The top officials from Westminster Foundation for Democracy, and Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, including officials from Governance United Nations Development Programme were also present.

This event is sponsored by the UK government as part of their 2018-20 Commonwealth Partnership for Democracy programme. It provided an excellent networking opportunity, with discussions on several international issues including SDG 13 on climate change.

There is a lot of interests in Malaysia at the moment due to the results of GE14. In the eyes of the global community, Malaysia carries the hope of greater democracy for the ASEAN region.

As such, we cannot fail in our democratic and institutional reforms. I am fully committed to secure a better democracy for the generations to come, including giving democratic hope to our neighbours, the 600 million people of ASEAN. This is partly why I have been focusing a bit more time lately, on ASEAN issues on human rights and climate change.

Of all reforms that we have to implement, the third most important is Parliamentary reforms (hence this New York trip) to curb the unreasonably excessive executive powers and enforce separation of powers. In my humble opinion, the most important is still anti corruption reforms, followed by economic wage reforms to resolve widening economic inequality.

After the event, Azizah an official from the Malaysian Permanent Mission to the UN kindly took me around the UN building and gave me an all access tour, including the General Assembly podium and the UN Security Council table.