Call for a Financial Accountability Commission answerable to the Parliament with full powers to take punitive actions

By Tony Pua

Every year Malaysians are treated to a series of “tall tales” in the Auditor-General Report, which are unfortunately true stories. This year, despite an “upgrade” in ratings for the overall financial management by Government departments and agencies, the tales of financial abuse and degrees of incompetence is no less fantastic than previous years.

In previous years, we had screw drivers worth RM32 was purchased at RM224 or a car jack worth RM50 purchased at RM5,700 making a complete mockery of the Government’s procurement process. Last year, Kolej Kemahiran Tinggi Mara in Balik Pulau purchased a whole list of products for its computer laboratory at prices well above that of the market, including 2 Acer computer laptops at RM84,640 when it is worth only be a tenth of the price paid.

This year is no different with the Marine Parks Department taking the leading role by purchasing binoculars worth not more than RM1,940 was purchased at RM56,350, more than 28 times the market price. It was of course not the only offending item – the Department purchased RM192,694 worth of products including common items such as laptops, printers, LCD TV, DVD Player when their total value should not exceed RM20,193.

There were many repeat offenders as well in the current year’s report. Of note is the construction of computer laboratories by the Ministry of Education throughout the country. In Sabah, a RM160.7 million project was awarded to equip 300 schools by 2008. However, as at the end of 2010, only 2 computer laboratories were completed.

Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara), an agency tasked to uplift the welfare of bumiputeras is again chastised for making high-priced purchases such as an oven worth RM419 for RM1,200, folding beds worth RM100 for RM500 among other things.

What is perhaps more illuminating is the fact that everyone the Auditor-General only has the necessary resources to audit a small sample of Government procurement and projects. And despite that, such tales of incompetence and abuse are in abundance.

The logical conclusion from the Auditor-General’s report is that heads must roll, but it rarely or never happens. The Government’s Chief Secretary Tan Sri Sidek Hassan has the all-important role to take the necessary disciplinary actions against the relevant offenders, including the supervising officers who failed in exercising their responsibility in a diligent fashion. However, as informed by the Auditor-General during our Public Accounts Committee briefing yesterday, most of these offending officers are only given a letter of reprimand “surat teguran” before the cases were closed.

The natural outcome is, there is little disincentive for government officers to increase its level of competence or reduce the amount of waste, mismanagement and abuse since the “rewards” far outweigh the potential punishment, even if their deeds are hung out to dry in the Auditor-General’s Report.

While the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has the powers to call upon the relevant Ministries and officers to explain their actions and conduct, the PAC has no powers whatsoever to mete out punishment except to make “recommendations” to the Government. This has proven to be completely ineffective, made worse by the fact that the PAC is only able to focus on a handful of the misdeeds highlighted in the Auditor-General’s report.

Therefore, given the inability of the Chief Secretary of the Government, the absence of powers endowed upon the PAC as well as the lack of political will from the Prime Minister and his Cabinet to mete out effective punishment and deterrence to offending civil servants, we would like to call for a independent Financial Accountability Commission (FAC) set up via an Act of Parliament to be created.

The FAC should not be staffed with any civil servant to avoid conflicts of interest, but instead by headed by leading professionals in the field of audit and integrity such as the Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (MICPA) and Transparency International (TI) Malaysia. The proposed Commission should be made answerable only to the Parliament and granted the powers to take punitive and disciplinary actions against officers guilty of misconduct, negligence and sheer incompetence highlighted in the Auditor-General’s Report.

[Media Statement by Tony Pua, DAP National Publicity Secretary and Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, 25 October 2011]

  1. #1 by Godfather on Tuesday, 25 October 2011 - 12:29 pm

    Ali Baba and the Den of forty thieves. We look forward to the annual chapter of Ali Baba’s adventures in Bolehland.

  2. #2 by monsterball on Tuesday, 25 October 2011 - 1:27 pm

    Time and time again massive corruptions are exposed….not by Oppositions by the Auditor General…all fell into deaf years ..corruptions keep repeating with no fear….because they control the laws..police and all so call agencies after corruptions are to protect the master minds and ring leaders…all…all set up water tight by Mahathir …the master of all corruptions.
    It is a disease to take as much money as they want…and keep voting UMNO b to protect them…..the big and small crooks..all UMNO b members.
    It is a disease beyond cure…for cure spells doomsday for all.
    So it is classified by Najib….traitors against patriots.
    The crooks are the patriots…..unbelievable mentalities.

  3. #3 by dagen on Tuesday, 25 October 2011 - 1:42 pm

    Shut up all of you. Cintanegara is mad. He is not happy because you ppl are challenging his ketuanan rights. Your actions are anti-agung, anti-sultan, anti-islam jenis umno, anti-melayu, unpatriotic, ungrateful, terrorising etc etc.

    … errr cintanegara, is this statement strong enough? Yeah? Yes. I am so happy for you. Umno took away several billions of our money last year. Well mainly yours cos I still have mine even after paying taxes.

  4. #4 by yhsiew on Tuesday, 25 October 2011 - 2:20 pm

    People dared repeat the offense again and again because there were no punitive actions taken against them. The Opposition should press the government to deduct the salaries of the perpetrators to recover the amount plundered.

  5. #5 by trublumsian on Tuesday, 25 October 2011 - 2:23 pm

    OMG! the sun came up from the east today. the Star published accounts of funds misappropriation. maybe someone from the paper is right now being hauled up to putrajaya for a scolding.

    i don’t know how all those pro-umno minions can read these reports n still justify their blind support of the warlords.

  6. #6 by trublumsian on Tuesday, 25 October 2011 - 2:27 pm

    yes, the sun rose from the east, which is how things should work. the other 364 days the sun rises from the west for the Star and its master umno.

  7. #7 by Godfather on Tuesday, 25 October 2011 - 2:42 pm

    Last year’s hit was “Barisan Nasional and the mystery of the gold-plated screwdriver”. This year’s new blockbuster titled “Barisan Nasional and the mystery of the reversible binoculars” is expected to be out-perform last year’s hit.

  8. #8 by DAP man on Tuesday, 25 October 2011 - 3:31 pm

    Who cares about the audit report anyway? This has been going on like for decades.
    I remember in the 1980s, the Johor Menteri Besar even called the the Auditor General report a communist production.
    I think every minister and civil servant are tickled pink with what they read as they cannot be touched. They will repeat the same thing next year.

  9. #10 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 25 October 2011 - 3:39 pm

    NO NEED FAC lah!
    D Chief Sec 2 d gomen said dat d gomen will “act according 2 d rules” in dealing with d 9 ministries d depts dat blew their budget by a total of RM3.73 billion last year
    Can we believe in d Chief Sec ah? Just like we believe dat FLOM is a long cool slim dame

  10. #11 by boh-liao on Tuesday, 25 October 2011 - 3:40 pm

    Y MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP, etc – no sound on these blatant corrupt practices?

  11. #12 by kpt99 on Tuesday, 25 October 2011 - 11:08 pm

    For decades,UMNO had been fighting death or life to look after and guard the National Coffer and now more appropriate “Coffin ” for the poor rakyat.

    Most right -thinking and rational Malaysians know this coffer will soon dry up by these termites and leeches.
    Idris Jala knows best for his infamous statement ” Malaysia will go bankrupt in 2019′, a year ahead before becoming developed nation.

    Fellow Malaysians :::::::;

    Wait up from your snoring sleep before Greece Bell ring on you.

  12. #13 by HJ Angus on Wednesday, 26 October 2011 - 7:07 am

    Many Malaysians are not sleeping…..they have become BN ZOMBIES!

  13. #14 by SENGLANG on Wednesday, 26 October 2011 - 11:07 am

    All these over pricing etc is not news. It is happening everyday. This is how the government can keep going for feeding all the concu-concu with the over price project or just simply take away the money by naming a project without any implementation at all.

    So far so good, most the china man still working seven days a week and take their rest only during CNY. Most of the hardware shop open through out the years except few days break in between CNY.

    So they taxes and so was all the salaries workers.

    Big money also come from oil company. This is how sa far so good. still enough to go round. Until now…….

    Europe Zon crisis? America Crisis> So the money will dry soon…..

    People no earning enough to match the fast rising costs of living, so time has come.

    With all those wastefulness the BN will come to end very soon

  14. #15 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 26 October 2011 - 11:22 am

    UmnoB/BN MAY come 2 an end soon, but WHAT ME WORRY? Oredi got millions n gold bars stashed away in overseas banks, enuf 4 a few generations of parasites
    But again no fear 1, bodoh voters WILL still vote 4 racist corrupt UmnoB/BN 1 lah

  15. #16 by SENGLANG on Wednesday, 26 October 2011 - 11:23 am

    The costs are actually far more than that. Most of the products beside the high costs they end up not being used for the intend purpose. In other word the project did not create value and has not economy effect.

    We have many many project with good intention, but they all end up nothing. It look like those in charge are more interested in taking away the money instead by implementing the projects.

  16. #17 by kpt99 on Wednesday, 26 October 2011 - 9:53 pm

    How multi-million projects work in MSia ?

    UMNO minister>UMNO cronies>State minister>state cronies>Cronies company>Sub contractor.

    100 million > 80>70>60>50>40,at the final offer of 40 million,sub contractors can still make profit by doing shoddy and sub standard works.

  17. #18 by AskChong on Wednesday, 26 October 2011 - 10:17 pm

    We are going to be a bankrupt nation before 2019 because BN is going to dig faster and deeper as they have too many man to feed. Don’t laugh at Greece as we are going to be like them very soon IF BN still win next GE by cheating.

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