Thursday, October 10, 2013

Anwar: A-G’s report shows no political will to stop leakages

By Boo Su-Lyn
October 9, 2013
UPDATED: October 09, 2013 02:36 pm 

The opposition leader hit out at the federal government for continuing old spending habits, instead of reducing spending allocations. — AFP picThe opposition leader hit out at the federal government for continuing old spending habits, instead of reducing spending allocations. — AFP picPETALING JAYA, Oct 9 — The Auditor-General’s 2012 report reveals Putrajaya’s lack of political resolve to end wastage and financial mismanagement, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today.
The opposition leader, once a finance minister, also hit out at the federal government for continuing old spending habits, instead of reducing spending allocations.
“The report continues to show a consistent pattern in the lack of care in managing government finances and assets, weak management and supervision of government projects, continued financial malpractices and more importantly, the lack of political resolve and to stop all leakages and inefficiencies in managing government finances,” Anwar told reporters at the PKR headquarters here today.
“We repeat that these ongoing financial malpractices and lackadaisical attitude of the government in spending the country’s money are totally unacceptable, especially when the rakyat are now being burdened with rising fuel prices and the possible introduction of the GST (Goods and Services Tax),” added the PKR de facto leader.
According to Anwar, economists project the government’s losses to total between RM23 billion and RM26 billion annually from leakages and financial mismanagement, but did not specify who they were.
He also acknowledged that the A-G’s report did not mention such figures.
He added that when he served as finance minister in the Mahathir administration, the Cabinet had set up a special committee that hauled up ministers, not just civil servants, to explain the abuses highlighted in national audits.
“Now, apparently, it’s lackadaisical behaviour. If it exists, it’s not functioning; it’s led by irresponsible people,” said Anwar.
Among the low points from the latest report was the RM2 billion the Education Ministry spent on sub-par security for national schools, over RM600,000 of shoes disposed of by the Customs Department after they did not meet requirements, and the Health Ministry’s decision to commission two social media campaigns at a combined cost of RM320,000.
The police were also discovered to have lost RM1.3 million in assets including guns and handcuffs, which the Inspector-General of Police later said might have fallen into the sea.
Although this year’s edition did not serve up a national scandal to match that of the National Feedlot Centre (NFC) previously exposed, opposition critics said the excessive spending detailed in the annual report pointed to an institutional problem with the government.
A-G Tan Sri Ambrin Buang told The Malay Mail Online on Monday that Putrajaya must take “firmer and faster” action to resolve repeat wastage of public funds
When asked to reflect on the changes in the civil service since he took on the role of Auditor-General in 2006, Ambrin indicated a slow improvement in Putrajaya’s performance in implementing projects.
- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/anwar-a-gs-report-shows-no-political-will-to-stop-leakages#sthash.oQyYDhz2.dpuf

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