When will we ever learn from the A-G's Report? - Akhbar Satar

TI-M has strongly urged the government to urgently implement changes and strict enforcement to address findings in the AG Report.

TI-M urges the PM to investigate whether public funds have been spent prudently and make every Minister accountable for the failure to comply with finance regulations. | Astro Awani
Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) lauds Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang and PEMANDU’s Government Transformation Programme (GTP) 2.0 initiative under the National Key Results Area (NKRA) Against Corruption for successfully tabling the Auditor-General's Report on the federal government, statutory bodies and state government activities in a three-part series.

Series 2 of the Auditor-General’s Report 2013 was tabled in Parliament recently with a total of 230 suggestions made to assist the federal (55) and state governments (144) and federal statutory bodies (31) to make improvements and overcome the weaknesses as reported. Together with this Series 2 Report 2013, 57 performance audits and 18 management audits on government companies were done at the federal and state government levels and federal statutory bodies.

Based on the Auditor-General’s Report 2013, TI-M cites specific examples. It was found that the Railway Asset Management (PAK) paid its maintenance contractor almost RM100 million despite records showing that the electric trains operated by KTM Bhd were missed the daily maintenance servicing in August and December, 2012 and February, May and July, 2013.

What is more alarming is that the Broadcasting Department, commonly known as Radio-Television Malaysia (RTM), under the Communication and Multimedia Ministry, paid 413 television programmes deals worth RM111.30 million without formal contracts. The Audit Report 2013 also highlighted that RTM had failed to issue penalties to companies that were late in delivering their programmes, causing the government to lose RM182,142.

It was also disclosed that the Land Transport Commission (SPAD) has failed to effectively monitor payment of compound fines amounting to RM868, 798 or 31.9%, of the RM2.72 million fines due since 2011 still not collected. Most of the uncollected compound fines were from SPAD's east zone.

TI-M, once again, strongly urges Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to look not only into the growing number of outstanding cases of public projects where costs have escalated and possible abuse of public funds but also to ensure that suspected criminal breach of trust, cheating or corruption cases identified in the audit report are thoroughly investigated and action appropriately taken.

TI-M urges the PM to investigate whether public funds have been spent prudently and make every Minister accountable for the failure to comply with finance regulations, management, high-priced procurement, ‘not value for money’ and unachieved targets. It must be the duty of each and every minister as the head of a ministry to ensure their own integrity and that of all others below them.

Cases involved mishandling of internal systems and procedures, actions should be carried out by the respective agencies based on the law. They should take “follow-up actions” towards all issues listed in the Report to ensure that the AG report is acted upon to improve the performance from the last audit.

It is unfortunate to note that these management weaknesses and the consequent wastage of public funds continue to persist year-after-year. The government’s lackasaidal attitude to take stern corrective action in the past has now escalated thereby creating a culture of corruption in almost every government departments. To rectify these problems, the government must urgently implement changes and strict enforcement in internal control systems, transparency, accountability, personal reputation and integrity.

This is happening despite the Auditor-General's previous exhortations, to improve our standards of good governance and integrity. TI-M is willing and ready to cooperate with all parties including PAC, MACC, AG, NKRA for Anti-Corruption and the Prime Minister’s Department to work on finding solutions to tackle these issues continue to be highlighted in AG’s Report.

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**Datuk Akhbar Satar is the President of Transparency International Malaysia
**The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of Astro AWANI.