Focus View
Disgraceful to ignore AG’s recommendations
FocusM team | 04 Aug 2017 00:30
The latest Auditor-General’s (AG) Report 2016 Series 1 has over 350 recommendations to rectify weaknesses in government departments. Looks like little has changed over the years in terms of improving efficiency. 

The disrespect shown to the AG’s office and its past recommendations is blatant. As of June, six issues highlighted in its 2013 report and another 40 from 2014 had still not been resolved. It’s strange no one is made accountable for this gross negligence.  
Those responsible must realise that their negligence can endanger life. For example, the fire extinguisher systems in the server room at all Department of Survey and Mapping state offices (except for Negeri Sembilan) have not been maintained on a regular basis since the contract expired in July 2013. 

It’s unbelievable that such a thing can happen. Obviously, those answerable haven’t learnt from incidents like the Sultanah Aminah Hospital fire in Johor Bahru last October where several lives were lost.   

As long as the guilty go unpunished, they will boldly continue with their corrupt practices. The lack of punishment will be misread as the authorities’ condoning corruption or inefficiency. Once such a mentality is cast in stone, it will become a way of life. 

The AG’s report also highlighted that the National Entrepreneur Group Economic Fund (Tekun Nasional) recorded accumulated losses of RM209 mil at the end of 2015. A total of RM410 mil in bad debts was written off. 

There seems to be serious weaknesses in the manner in which Tekun vets and approves those who qualify for loans. Will this be urgently rectified by those at the top?
Then you have the case where a set of screwdrivers cost RM220 and another where the authorities paid over RM40,000 for computers that were worth a mere RM4,000.  

The AG’s reports highlighted that billions of ringgit have been lost over the years due to negligence and corruption. Obviously, many of the department heads concerned are doing little to address the issues highlighted by the AG.

It is good that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has said it will set up a special team to scrutinise the AG’s report for corrupt practices or abuse of power.

Hopefully, the MACC will recognise the absence of action against blatant misdemeanors highlighted by the AG is itself a gross abuse of power. Culpability in a crime of omission is no different from that in a crime of commission, and department heads who fail to act against delinquent staff should themselves be called to account.