Why the fuss over the 2010 AG Report.
By Sakmongkol AK47
Let us show you a few examples. Perhaps then readers will understand what all the fuss is over the AG Report.
Bizarre overpricing- the National Youth Skills Institute (under the Youth and Sports Ministry) approved the purchase of a car jack that cost RM50 for RM5,700, a digital camera that cost RM2,990 was bought for RM8,254 and RM1,146 was paid for a set of technical pens with a market price of RM160;
Negligence- the Police Air Wing purchased two helicopters worth RM117.75 million, which could not be used, as they did not meet specifications. Another RM15.4mil was spent to train pilots to fly these helicopters.
Incompetence- Customs Department under-utilized its RM290mil information technology system but was planning to spend another RM451.30mil to develop a new one.
These are the findings of the Auditor General’s report a few years ago. If the transgressions were not rectified, we know it means, things have not improved. If matters are left as they are, we can then more or less expect what’s coming. We can expect the same stories about negligence and incompetence because those responsible are laid back about the issues. We have all the reasons to believe that the report for 2011, next year, will reveal the same story about misappropriation of funds, bizarre overpricing, projects not completed. These are indicators of negligence, incompetence and regretfully said- of officious arrogance.
The 2010 Auditor General's Report is precisely that- voluminous and horrifying mentions about more or less the same findings contained in reports of preceding years. What does that say? It says loud and clear, the same transgressions committed were not rectified or even allowed to continue. It means the same wrongdoings are allowed to be perpetrated because the enabling circumstances and possibly the same perpetrators were allowed to persist. It further shows those responsible to ensure the transgressions are not repeated have been incompetent and negligent in carrying remedial actions.
The same people who did all the transgressions are still in commanding positions; they will have the opportunity to improve upon their incompetence by doing more damage. The Chief Secretary’s village fool response by way of saying he is not worried and that the problem has been dealt with because he has sent circulars asking officials to exercise more discipline is a negligent expression and ensuing act of gross callousness. I am afraid, the public isn’t that forgiving.
We don’t want circulars- we want those transgressors punished or even sacked. As them to publicly explain what happened to those overspendings? Let’s ask the chairman of Giatmara for example, where is the shop that sells the heavy duty blender for 4 times the market price. Let’s make it the 1 Malaysia shop for heavy duty blenders. Maybe even give them soft loan from EPF. Let us Mydin the shop.
Yet we want to extend the services of such a fellow. Let’s elect Allred E Newman for Chief Secretary then. Then, we are assured the same transgressions repeated, will be met with the same incredulous response of what me worry!
The answer is also, we don’t have to suffer the incompetence of those entrusted to manage public money. If they don’t manage properly and because it’s our money they are managing, they deserve to be publicly assailed. This isn’t about being perplexed as to why the opposition should bicker about the report. If you do, then we shall have to explain to you in as simple terms as possible.
This is beyond opposition. This is about, the mismanagement of our money which deserves being treated as a cause of concern for possible fraud and deception.
The short answer to the question then as to why the opposition gets irked by the audit report as do all right thinking Malaysians is the money being treated isn’t the property of the transgressors. That being so, the administration of the money and the application of the funds thereof, must be done with utmost care. It’s not your father’s money. That is the short answer.
The long answer is, Malaysians are fed up of the deception and misappropriation of funds.
For the year 2010, the government approved a budget of RM 149 billion for operating expenditure. This wasn’t enough and the government had to increase the opex to 151 billion. The report said 9 ministries over spent. Here is where all of us should be concerned. This is taxpayers money being spent on opex. The 2 billion could have been spent of capex capital expenditure which builds capacity to create more wealth.
Now, Malaysians are equally outraged by the revelations of the 2010 Auditor-General Reports on the continuing financial scandals, hanky-panky and gross financial negligence in government. We are horrified to learn for example, the National Sports Institute acquired 23 horses totalling RM5.66 million without a Financial Ministry go-ahead with none of the horses competed in two recommended international championships; we have the case of the RM142 million RazakSAT malfunctioning barely a year after being commissioned; wait, we have more- The Malaysian Marine Parks Department spent a whopping RM56,350 for a pair of night vision Marine binoculars, 29 times more than its market value of RM1,940; and paid the same amount for another pair of night vision Bushnell binoculars, or 1,893 per cent more than its actual price of RM2,827.
We are once again appalled at the incompetence of front line workers incapable of appreciating the importance of proper placement of decimal points and making accounting mistakes that resulted in wasteful overspending. These should not have happened if there are efficient and proper internal audit systems. As the result of a laid back attitude, we are told of stories where a pensioner received RM21, 433 a month instead of RM214.33 for 16 months!. The mistake was detected after more than a year. The officer who finally detected the mistake should be a given a merit order.
We are also dismayed of hearing Giatmara Centre mistakenly paying RM170 per kg instead of RM1.70 per kg for sugar for a poverty eradication programme or RM25, 500 for 150 kg of sugar! This must be a special kind of sugar.
What about the village-fool response that I mentioned above? In his response to the 2010 Auditor-General’s Reports, the Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Sidek Hassan has repeated his annual reaction and call to all departments and agencies to take heed of the Auditor-General’s comments and views. Which goes to show, that what I said about the same mistakes being repeated did take place, otherwise, he wouldn’t have to repeat his annual reaction would he?
No wonder then, there was this need to delay the submission of the 2010 Auditor-General’s Report to ensure that it would not completely overshadow Najib’s 2012 Budget. Otherwise, the Finance Minister’s charitable overtures would be overshadowed and overwhelmed by the over 1,300 pages of exposes of financial irregularities, hanky-panky as well as misappropriation of public funds in the first full year of PM Najib’s premiership.
All right thinking Malaysians are waiting for the Finance Minister or the Chief Secretary to explain the delay in submitting the 2010 Auditor-General Reports until after the end of the parliamentary debate on the 2012 Budget. If the Report was enclosed alongside the budget documents, the AG Report would have been the foremost parliamentary issue.