23 March 2016, Kuala Lumpur
Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) applauds MACC for taking action against a senior officer from the Youth and Sports Ministry who was alleged to have committed procurement fraud and corruption amounting to RM 100 million over the course of six years. TI-M believes that the current detection of procurement fraud within the Youth and Sports Ministry could well be the tip of the iceberg, and urges MACC to continue its efforts of investigating other possible cases in order to bring the culprits to justice regardless of the stature of the individuals involved.
This case highlights once again apparent inherent weaknesses in the government procurement system, and leads to a myriad of pressing questions. How could a systematic occurrence of fraud and corruption of this scale go undetected over 6 years? Why was the officer not rotated given the high risk nature of his job? How did the officer’s alleged expensive lifestyle including luxury purchases, frequent overseas travels and unusual proximity with clients and vendors go undetected? Besides that, leaders should be able to recognize red-flags within the procurement system and identify key areas of risk.
Were periodic audit and lifestyle checks conducted? Were subordinates pressured to follow orders without question, even when procedures were not followed? Do secure reporting channels exist that protect the whistle blower? Or do all the necessary processes and check and balance mechanisms already exist, but we repeatedly fail to follow them?
An effective procurement system must be supported by officers with high integrity. TI-M strongly urges the Youth and Sports Minister, YB Khairy Jamaluddin to act decisively to regain the trust and confidence of the public in view of the large budgeted allocations of public money under his ministry. By extension, the same call is made to all Ministers AND civil servants who oversee the disbursement of these funds. They should at all times be mindful of their huge responsibility in carrying out their duties for the rakyat’s benefit. One wonders whether this is an isolated case or the same modus operandi of abuse is happening systemically in other Government ministries and this is indeed the tip of an even bigger iceberg!
Indeed, is it a system problem or a people problem or both? The people certainly do not want Malaysia’s government and corporate culture to have embedded in them such corrupt and unethical traits. TI-M hopes that the Government will look at itself in the mirror and ask these hard questions – the people are clamouring for the answers.
Dato’ Akhbar Satar
Transparency International Malaysia
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Transparency International-Malaysia is an independent, non-governmental and non-partisan organisation committed to the fight against corruption.
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