More and more questions are being asked about the high-level Chief Secretary’s Special Committee to study and scrutinise the 2012 Auditor-General’s Report announced by the Chief Secretary Tan Sri Dr. Ali Hamsa on Saturday.
According to Ali, who will chair the Special Committee, other members are the Public Services director-general, attorney-general as well as representatives from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Finance Ministry and the Royal Malaysian Police.
The first question is whether the Najib government is serious to ensure the highest standards of integrity and accountability in the public service and that the Chief Secretary’s Special Committee on the 2012 Auditor-General’s Report is not just a “public relations” exercise to circumvent and distract attention from the avalanche of adverse publicity following the publication of the 2012 Auditor-General’s Report!
Has the first meeting of the Chief Secretary’s Special Committee on the 2012 Auditor-General’s Report been held, and will Najib, as the Prime Minister-cum-Finance Minister be able to present a White Paper when Dewan Rakyat reconvenes on October 21 reporting on the initial actions and decisions of the Special Committee?
Secondly, why wasn’t such a high-level Chief Secretary’s Special Committee on the 2012 Auditor-General Report set up when the Prime Minister’s Department and the Finance Ministry first received the Auditor-General’s 2012 Report in July to demonstrate the seriousness of the Najib Administration on the Government Transformation Plan (GTP), especially as government integrity and accountability are important planks in the GTP which has entered into its fourth year?
Thirdly, what is the actual status of the Chief Secretary’s Special Committee on the 2012 Auditor-General’s Report? Will it be a permanent feature at least of the Najib premiership overseeing future reports of the Auditor-General on the Federal government accounts? Will it be submitting regular reports to Parliament?
Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chmairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed has questioned the setting up of the Chief Secretary’s Special Committee on the 2012 Auditor-General’s Report, on the ground firstly, that it will duplicate the role of the PAC and secondly, Malaysians would not have confidence in the Chief Secretary’s Special Committee as it comprised government officials.
There is considerable merit in Nur Jazlan’s arguments as many Malaysians are wondering why the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar is represented on the Special Committee when he should be hauled before the Chief Secretary’s Special Committee on the 2012 Auditor-General’s Report to give full and satisfactory accounting over the loss of RM1.33 million worth of police assets, including 44 firearms, between 2010 and 2012!
This has become even more pertinent with the denial by the Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang in The Malaysian Insider today that the police had explained to the Audit Department what happened to the 44 missing guns and other police assets.
Ambrin refuted reports quoting the Home Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi that the Ministry had submitted a report to the Auditor-General on the missing police items but this explanation was not included in the 2012 Auditor-General’s Report.
For this reason, the Inspector-General of Police should be hauled before the Special Committee to give a full and satisfactory explanation for the RM1.33 million worth of police assets which included 44 firearms, 29 vehicles, 156 handcuffs, 26 walkie-talkies, 22 radios and other equipment especially after his earlier dismissive and ludicrous response that the missing guns could have “fallen into the sea”!
It is rather disturbing that there are no signs that the PAC proposes to haul up the IGP to account for the loss of the RM1.33 million worth of police assets, particularly 44 firearms, 156 handcuffs and 29 vehicles.
It was reported by Malaysiakini on the day the 2012 Auditor-General Reports were tabled in Parliament on Oct. 1 that the PAC had its first meeting and that it had identified four ministries to be investigated after its initial study of the AG’s 2012 Reports – affecting Inland Revenue Board, Kota Kinabalu Airport, construction of incinerators and the Fire and Rescue Department.
Conspicuously absent from the immediate menu of PAC investigations is the loss of RM1.33 million worth of police assets – which is completely against public expectations which would want this item to top the PAC’s priority list of investigations.
This is one important reason why there is very little public confidence in the PAC to check corruption, waste, negligence and abuse of power as revealed by the annual Auditor-General Reports, causing MPs and the general public to regard the PAC as quite ineffective and toothless under its present structure, constitution and composition.