After latest audit, MACC panel ‘baffled’ by repeated weaknesses in government

(MM) – An anti-graft panel said today it was baffled by why government agencies have continued to show negligence and power abuses in its operations despite getting panned every year for the same mistakes in the Auditor-General’s report.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Consultation and Corruption Prevention Panel (CCPP) cited this year’s document as an example, pointing out that chapter after chapter of the annual report had highlighted continued discrepancies in the government’s tender, supply and procurement system, and standard operating procedures by ministry agencies, state governments and government-linked companies.

“We take a serious view of these weaknesses that not only could lead to abuse of power and corruption but undermine the government delivery system,” CCPP chairman Datuk Johan Jaaffar said in a statement here.

In a repeat of past criticisms, the A-G Report 2012 highlighted numerous financial discrepancies in almost all the key government agencies, with a few found to have flopped in projects worth billions of ringgit.

Among others, the report had revealed that the police had lost assets worth RM1.33 million in the past three years, including 156 units of handcuffs, 44 units of firearms, 29 vehicles, 26 walkie-talkies, 22 radios, six cameras, four computers, one cellphone, and 21 unspecified items.

The report said the police’s management of missing assets was unsatisfactory, noting the late discovery of missing assets, the delay in reporting losses to the department head and to the police, the department head’s delay in preparing an initial report on the missing assets, and the delay in action following a report on missing assets.

Among the other irregularities that stood out were the RM11.6 million in excessive and frivolous payments made to Telekom Malaysia Berhad in developing the Malaysia Emergency Response System (MERS) 999, and poor security at schools despite over RM2 billion spent by the Education Ministry to hire private security contractors.

The report also highlighted poor contract and procurement management in government projects, an issue also raised by the PAC members who were briefed about the matter the day the national audit report was released.

Johan labelled the loss of RM1.33 million of police weapons a “serious act of negligence” and citing other irregularities, said that it was due to a obvious lack of supervision on suppliers and contractors that had resulted in shoddy work performance in some cases.

“The panel is also baffled by the fact that despite these weaknesses being highlighted in previous reports, they keep being repeated,” he said.

As such, the panel urged the Chief Secretary to the Government to form a special committee to act on the A-G’s findings.

“The panel also calls on the Chief Secretary to table proposals on improvements to prevent such weaknesses from recurring,” he said.

The panel also called on all state governments and government-linked firms to take immediate action to rectify all weaknesses highlighted in the A-G’s report.

Johan added that the report should also be produced more frequently – at least thrice annually – to enable more effective monitoring and supervision of all weaknesses.

“The panel supports whatever steps to be taken for further improvements in the civil service so as to plug loopholes to prevent corruption and abuse of power,” he said.