Public policy is a decision made by the House of representatives in solving public demands or problems (Kraft & Furlong, 2017). In order for the house of representatives to successfully implement a public policy, they must first undergo a series of stages in order for it to be approved by the Cabinet or Senate. Throughout the policy-making process, the house of representatives or in short, the policy-makers must first identify the problems or issues faced by the public. This phase is important as every public policy aims to solve public problems and if it is implemented not according to the public demand, therefore it does not show a successful solution to the public. The demands can be either come from external or internal demands. Right then, it is important for the house of representatives to elaborate and discuss these problems among themselves to get different opinions from others to seek for alternative ways to solve the problem.
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Aside from the first phase, the implementation stage is equally important as it is the stage whereby decisions are made by the policy-makers. From there, the approval or rejection of the idea of policy will be known. If the policy is approved, therefore the allocation of resources will be allocated to build projects or programs which needing to be carried to the ground. With that, the government will be seen as efficient and reliable as the actions are visible to public. Therefore, contributing to a great solution to the public.
However, not in many cases that every public policies were seen to be successful as some policy initiatives were also left abandoned, incomplete or never been carried out by the executives. The failure to carry out these unsuccessful policies not only cause devastation to the country but also reflecting the government itself as a whole in ruling the country. Therefore in this essay, factors for the reasons behind the failure to complete and carry out certain policies will be identified and discuss further.
There must be a reason for every failure of implementing or actions that has not been taken by the policy-makers in carrying out their duties to solve public problem. In this case, there are many factors behind the cause of abandoned and incomplete projects or program. Therefore, there are many factors contributing to this matter such as insufficient resources and corruption, inefficient governance solution, lack of political will and communication, and the change of government. Though there are many contributing factors, the ones listed below are chosen as it is the most common ones according to my opinion.
The allocation of resources whether it is capital, funds, time, workforce and political energy is equally the most important aspects among all factors in implementing a public policy. As public policy is not only a piece of black and white written paper, it is also a must for the policy to be implemented to the ground which shows that actions are taken to the public. However, every country faces limited resources whereby the amount of resources especially funds is always insufficient to carry out the public policy which contributes to many government policy initiatives that never been carried out, incomplete or abandoned.
According to Kernaghan and Siegel (1999), though many policy-makers have the initiatives to implement a policy, the policy-makers usually face problems with limited resources such as funds, capital, workforce and time. This happens whenever policy-makers underestimated the amount of resources needed to implement or develop a project which in the end leads to limited resources causing the policy to be abandoned halfway and incomplete. Not only that limited resources such as the limited funds and capital contributes to projects or public policy programs to be incomplete, scientific programs needing of sufficient workforce to contribute to the development of certain program or project for the success of the policy initiatives regardless of the availability of funds to pay the workers.
At most implementation phase also that most policy-makers claimed that the local authorities do not received enough resources and political support from the central government. In most cases that the policy-makers actually lose interest towards the policy that has been implemented and approved. Thus, where does the allocated resources go right after implementation? According to Williams (2016), he categorized this plausible explanation for an incomplete government project as corruption for ones benefit of their own. He added that unfinished projects taken by government like schools, clinics, hospitals and social facilities in Ghana could be a possible act of stealing of money by the authority who implemented the policy. This case is possible to happen whereby policy-makers may be corrupted which they have made embezzlement to steal resources from the country to have it on their own financially or other gains. Thus, explains the reason behind complains of many abandoned projects by those of local authorities who has not received sufficient amount of resources to continue on projects according to the time frame given.
When talking about corruption, it may not be only connected to stealing of resources such as money but also the abandonment of projects for a political gain. To further explain this, Williams (2016) added that corruption may also apply to policy-makers (ruling government) to purposely leave it incomplete to gain voters. How is this possible? This is by making promises to the voters that the authorities will complete the project if the public were to cast their votes in voting them. With this, the government are able to have their own political benefit so that they can win in the next election to rule the government whereas in the contrary, the public became blinded by the government as they are trapped into the government’s promises to fulfill the abandoned projects without knowing the actual purpose.
In order for a policy to be carried out smoothly throughout the country, the authority which in this case, the government who implemented the public policy must first ensure that they are working efficiently towards making this public policy a successful one by ensuring that the executive and those under them abide to the rules and regulations implemented. Not only that, the government must also ensure that they are working towards reaching the objectives and goals of the public policy otherwise the implementation will be seen as useless to the public and to the country itself. Besides, the government or the authority plays a central role in providing adequate technical supports and equipment for those taking charge of running the policy to ensure smooth flow of the public policy. In this case where most public policy failed or abandoned by the government is because it is said that the governance solution by the government is not efficient.
According to Mantino (2013), most public policies were seen to have difficulties to be implemented or either incomplete or abandoned are mostly cases of multi-level context programs. One great example that has been shown is mostly faced by the Rural Development Plans (RDPs) and Cohesion Programme. In this case, the central level lacks out or did not cooperate well with the local level whereby the central level did not provide the ones at lower level an adequate equipment and administrative support which leads to the abandoned and failure to carry out the public policy successfully. According to Martino (2013), the failure to carry out a policy also comes through due to a clash or other words, a contradiction process of delegation of jobs to the local authorities from the regional level which does not strengthen the local susceptibility and thus giving them insignificant role to carry out.
Another point is that, every public policy is implemented with and objective of solving problems faced by the citizens of the country and therefore government must take actions towards implementing a successful yet meaningful public policy that gives benefit to the country and citizen as a whole. Most public policy which does not work well enough to meet a successful one is because the objectives and goals were not reached as first implemented by the executive. Therefore, it is seen a useless to the society and country if the policy implemented is seen as something that has not reach its objective to fulfill the needs and demands of the citizens. One great example of policy that has not fully reached its objective is one in Malaysia that is the implementation of The New Economic Model (NEM) policy which aims to solve the country’s economic imbalance especially within ethnic groups and uneven economic development (Ramli et. al, 2012). According to the Daily Express (June 13, 2010), the New Economic Policy objectives have not been reached to the Bumiputras of Sabah and Sarawak even after 30 years of the policy inception.
Although public policies were made by the policy-makers and implemented by the executives showing their initiatives in taking actions towards making change to the problems faced by public, it will not be a successful one without the political will by the higher administration. They say it is easier said than done. When the policy-making process has been done and made according to the procedures whereby, discussions and allocation of funds has been made, therefore the next steps towards making it a successful one is to bring it to the ground and take actions. But the policy will not be able to be seen as a successful one if the actions were not taken by the executives in running the policy accordingly. This might be cause by the lack of participation of the executive in discussing through the policy at the first place. When the local authorities or the executives received messages from their higher authority, they might not be able to understand their next step or unwillingly to follow the instructions made by the higher authority therefore contributes to the lack of political actions or will to do what they have to do.
For example, the ministry of education has decided on a particular policy to be implemented such as the implementation of QR attendance in Universities to encourage efficiency and systemic way of taking attendance for both students and lecturers in the University. However, some lecturers might find it tedious to follow the new way of checking attendance as the new QR code system attendance may take up their time of lecture. In this sense shows that the executives or local authorities may have their own ideas and values which they carry in interpreting this new policy. Therefore, this new policy is abandoned and not efficient as the local authorities were not given an exposure towards the new policy implemented as they have no political will to initiate the policy to the public as a whole making it a failure for the government to implement a successful policy.
Another point is that, if a leader has a political will, therefore he or she has the initiative into making his objective a success. In cases where some leaders may not have the political will in achieving a goal, therefore a policy might also be unsuccessful as the leader has no initiatives or political will in thriving towards it. One example may come from the leader itself whereby the leader has an initiative to make a policy to help solve the public problem but sees it difficult in carrying out the process to achieve the goals maybe due to demotivation, lack of materials such as budget and resources or the goals are to hard to achieve which needing a lot of work. Thus, from the leader itself may lead to incomplete or abandoned projects causing it to be a waste or resources and energy.
The changing of government is another main contributing factor to the reason behind the failure to implement a policy. This is mainly because the changing of government happens after an election whereby the previous ruling government did not won their place in the parliamentary seats making the opposition or the other parties to win the election and take over the government. One example of this scenario in Malaysia is the changing of the recent ruling party, Barisan Nasional who have been ruling the government for over 60 years lose their seats to their rival, Pakatan Harapan with a simple majority seats of 113 out of 222 seats (Ruxyn, May 2018). Due to the transition of the opposition party becoming the new government, therefore the current ruling party must now take over what has been left for them by the previous government. In other words, the new government can either continue, abolish or amend the existing policy accordingly. Thus, causing many policies may be discontinue, incomplete or abandoned.
As one example of Barisan Nasional’s policy or promises that will be implemented if they were to win the seats is to implement a BR1M policy whereby households earning less than RM3,000 will received double pay out from RM400 to RM800 which contributes to a total payout an increase from RM1,200 to RM2,000 (Barisan Nasional Manifesto, 2018). However, since the election has won by the Pakatan Harapan party, the policy can no longer be able to take to the ground as the Pakatan Harapan brings a whole new different policies to be contributed to the public.
Public policy basically is important in every country as it is an initiative taken by the government to solve many demands and problems faced by the public. Without it, many future problems may arise among the public and government which is not wanted by the government to happen. Problems that may arise are such as demonstration and riot may occur in the country. Therefore to avoid this from happening, it is important for the government to take cautious of the demands and problems by the public as to equally keep the welfare of the country.
Although public policy has been implemented in many ways, some successful and some may not be a success. In many ways that the government has taken initiative such as the implementation of the New Economic Model (NEM) policy in Malaysia with aims to to solve economic inequality between the bumiputras and non-bumiputras, the implementation of payment of only RM1 to general hospital and clinics, the opening of many branches of ‘Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia’ with aims to help those of low income to buy groceries and items within low prices are some examples of initiatives taken by the government to solve public problems. It is indeed one way that the government are showing that they are doing their job as a government to which may seem as effective and reliable to the public.
In the contrary whereby it has been mentioned that not every policy is a success. Therefore, there are many factors contributing towards the unsuccessful completions of projects and programs initiatives by government. One main contribution factor is the insufficient resources by the government. In general, every country faces limited resources whether it is in terms of monetary, capital or workforce. Thus making it a struggle for government to look for sufficient resources to ensure success in their policy initiatives. Another contributing factor is caused by corruption by the leader itself. Although the leader might seen to have the initiative to take actions for the good of the public, it may not be seen as a genuine one as the leader himself is not honest in his position. Next will be the inefficient governance solution. Every policy must have an aim towards helping the public. With that, most unsuccessful policy was contributed by the failure to meet their objectives. The last two factors are such as the lack of political will and communication by the central government to the local authorities. Once a policy is implemented, commitment given by the central authority itself is needed to make it a successful one. Lastly, would be the change of government.
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