Friday, December 09, 2016

Auditor General’s Report Taking A Back Seat?

There has been an increase, over time, in the public demand for government transparency and accountability, which is crucial to safeguarding the public sector’s image of serving the public interest. 

Following such demands and urgency, the government implemented the The Prime Minister's Directive No 1 Year 1998, Second Series, No.1 Year 2000 by the Special Cabinet Committee on Integrity of Government Management chaired by then Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. 

The directive, entitled "Operations to Enhance the Integrity of the Malaysian Government Administration's Management System: Guideline on Implementation and Mechanism for the Supervisory System of Programmes to Incorporate Noble Values", is aimed at enhancing the integrity of the government administration. 

The National Integrity Plan (NIP) and the Malaysian Institute of Integrity was launched in 2004 by then Prime Minister Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi to further realized Vision 2020's goal of creating an ethical and moral society. 

In 2009, Prime Minister Mohd Najib Razak introduced the Ministerial Key Performance Indicators (MKPls) focused on delivering results of the effort to enhance government accountability. 

Subsequently, in 2010, the Prime Minister formally announced the Government Transformation Programme (GTP). The GTP covers an initial six national key results areas (NKRAs), including an initiative to combat corruption. 
Administratively, the two main institutions responsible for public finance accountability in Malaysia are the National Audit Department (NAD) and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). 

The Federal Constitution sets out the rules for financial provisions of Articles 96 to 112. The government must table an annual budget for approval by Parliament of the financial provisions contained in the Constitution. 
The Parliament enacts, repeals and amends laws related to financial matters. It controls expenditures of budgeting, and it requires the Accountant General's Department (AGD) to table annual financial reports on Parliament. These reports must be audited by an oversight body, which is the NAD. In addition, Parliament has established the PAC to ensure accountability. 

The head of the NAD is the Auditor General, who is appointed by the Yang di Pertuan Agong (the ruler) in accordance with Article 105 of the Federal Constitution. Article 106 of the Constitution specifies the powers and duties of the Auditor General and where he/she will submit the financial statements of the federal and state government as specified in Article 107 of the Constitution. 

The nature of an audit is specified in Section 6 of the Audit Act 1957, which states that the Auditor General must ascertain; involving the custody of public money, authority, maintenance and storage, activities and the provisions of the Federal Constitution and the Financial Procedure Act 1957, and any other written law relating to moneys or stores subject to his/her audit has been in all respects complied with to avoid wastage or extravagance. 
With such great effort and due diligence, the public is shocked with repeated reports on weaknesses or misappropriations, the culprits are not booked! The loss of 44 firearms reported on the Auditor General’s 2012 report and the more recent RM150 million cash and in kind siphoned from the RM3.3 billion, state rural water project in Sabah. 

The federal and state government are taken to task to be accountable and responsible and not shirking under the ‘TIDAK APA’ attitude, it has been far stretched and the public patience is wearing thin.