Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Malaysia very vulnerable to defence corruption, TI survey finds

Published: 4 November 2015 3:48 PM
Transparency International says Malaysia has a high vulnerability to defence corruption. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, November 4, 2015.

Transparency International says Malaysia has a high vulnerability to defence corruption. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, November 4, 2015.
Malaysia has a high vulnerability to defence corruption according to the latest Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index despite doing slightly better than a 2013 survey, Transparency International said.
Malaysia which was among 17 countries assessed in the survey received a grade D, indicated “a high vulnerability to defence corruption”.
Six of the 17 states assessed in the index receive either E or F grade, representing either a “very high” or “critical” risk of defence corruption.
Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) president Datuk Akhbar Satar lauded Putrajaya for participating and completing a government review of the anti-corruption index 2015 research, saying it showed Putrajaya's willingness to open dialogue with an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) on defence corruption issues.
Adding that significant vulnerabilities to corruption persisted as a result of weak legislative scrutiny, opaque budgets and whistleblower protection, he recommended that Putrajaya publish an annual defence budget that includes detailed information.
This should have details on expenditure across functions including on research and design, training, salaries, acquisitions, disposal of assets, maintenance and personnel expenditures.
He added that there should also be appropriate time given to discuss these budget items in Parliament to enhance budget transparency.
"A budget is submitted to the Parliament; however, it is lacks sufficient detail regarding specific expenditures.
"Furthermore, the Parliament has only a limited amount of days to approve the budget as a whole, which precludes effective scrutiny," Satar said commenting on the survey.
He also suggested that legislative scrutiny be strengthened , adding that currently , the legislature plays no formal role in scrutinising defence policy or spending.
"The legislature is given no detailed information on the defence budget, including secret items, beyond the aggregated sums for operating and development expenditure leading to lack of scrutiny regarding defence spending and procurement decisions," Satar added.
The anti-graft watchdog chief also urged the defence minister to address the weaknesses of Eastern Sabah Security Command’s (Esscom) roles and functions to strengthen maritime security in the eastern part of Sabah covering four perspectives, namely software, hardware, human resources, and intelligence.
"It is strongly urged that the Ministry of Defence SOP (standard operating procedure) for equipment procurement be based on open tenders.
"It is only appropriate to procure and place several radars in various islands in Esscom areas instead of installing one big radar at one area which is very costly and ineffective to monitor the vast areas to be combed," he said.
He added that immediate action was needed to implement concrete steps to protect the nation's defence spending from those who would abuse it for their own personal gain. – November 4, 2015.
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