Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Is the government serious about the Auditor General Reports?

Press Statement by M Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman and MP fro Ipoh Barat in Ipoh on Wednesday, April 09, 2014
       Is the government serious about the Auditor General Reports?

Every year we can read about excessive wastage, leakage and abuses in the Auditor General Report, yet every year such occurrences are repeated. 

A total of 283 issues related to wastage of funds, poor revenue and asset management, negligence as well as weak planning and monitoring of projects were listed in the 2013 Auditor General report tabled in Parliament on Monday.

One shocking abuse involved fund meant for food to feed malnourished children  was spent on buying meals such as nasi lemak , kuih and the tarik to be served at meetings  by Jerantut, Gua Musang and Kota Kinabalu district health offices.

Such abuse ought to have been treated as a very serious matter and tough actions ought to have been taken against the errant officers.

But it was revealed that an internal investigation committee was set up by the Health Ministry to investigate and the officers involved were reprimanded.

Reprimand is too light a punishment for such abuse and the Ministry was definitely sending a wrong message to all its officers.

The abuse is a serious crime which warrants the toughest disciplinary action as well as investigation by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC).

The Health Minister Datuk Seri Subramaniam must explain why he has not taken the necessary tough actions against the officers.

But it is not only Subramanim who should explain for the lenient action, the government must explain why it has not been tough against many culprits responsible in the abuse and misuse of public funds.

Last year, DAP MP Dr Ong Kian  Ming made a study and estimated that the government might have wasted around RM6.5 billion in the 64 cases studied under the 2012 audit report.

He noted that the RM6.5 billion that was wasted by the government was twice the amount of the funds the government could save by reducing the subsidy for petrol prices by 20 cents.

Yet, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim in  a written  reply to Alor Setar MP Gooi Hsiao Leung on March 31, has revealed that only one retired officer was charged in court, while unspecified disciplinary action would be taken against another two officers, as of November 21, 2013.

I wish to ask if the government is serious about the Auditor General Reports. 

The government must know that Malaysians are already fed up with continued abuses and misuses of public funds revealed in the annual Auditor General reports.

Enough is enough. The time has come for tough actions against all the culprits responsible. Tough disciplinary actions must be meted out and MACC must move in where necessary.

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