Greater concerted efforts must be made by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to look into the growing number of outstanding cases of public projects where costs have escalated and possible abuse of public funds.
In view of the upcoming Auditor-General’s Report 2013, Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) strongly urges the Prime Minister not only to release the reports to all members of Parliament before the tabling of 2014 Budget but also giving sufficient time for the MPs to read and debate the Report in Parliament.
We call upon the Prime Minister to instruct both the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to place more efforts to go after cases where there are obvious abuses of public funds, especially at a time when the country’s debts are at its highest level and public confidence in the government is at its lowest.
It is the role and responsibility of the AG’s office to pinpoint weaknesses in financial governance and management within each government agency; thereafter, follow-up must be carried out by both the MACC and the PAC if there are evidences of wrongdoing.
What is particularly appalling in the eyes of the public is that, while the AG’s office had time and again clearly identified the possible abuses of public funds, these are not being addressed immediately or the entire episode is conveniently forgotten after some time. Half-hearted actions and sometimes inaction to take remedial measures remains a serious concern to us and the public.
TI-M can cite several examples. The collapse of the newly-completed Sultan Mizan Stadium in Kuala Terengganu in 2009 also deserves further investigation, as the Dewan Rakyat was recently told that both contractors responsible for the construction of the stadium and the clearing of the debris were said to be “unregistered and inexperienced.”
To date, investigation into the way how the tender had been given has yet to be conducted to determine how inexperienced contractors were given the job at the expense of those with more experience.
The indelible ink fiasco which cost RM7.1 million, which includes RM200,000 for the transportation of the ink and brushes, should also be investigated by the MACC and PAC, especially after the Election Commission chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yusof had since the May 5 Elections established a committee to investigate into the fiasco. No outcome of the EC’s investigation has been forthcoming except for further expose by Member of Parliament for Ampang, Rafizi Ramly.
In another project, the Government has yet to reveal the outcome of the investigation into defective 1.7 km flyover between the Taman Bukit Maluri and Forest Research Institute of Malaysia interchange worth a total of RM238 million, known otherwise as Package 11 of the MRR2. Since the issue was first raised in 2004, the public has yet to be informed of the defects of the highway and work is continually being done to the highway.
A recent case involves a 680-metre pedestrian bridge connecting the Medan Tuanku monorail station and the Sultan Ismail LRT station which was launched on July 8. It is not difficult, for example, to engage a professional Quantity Surveyor to assess the cost of the pedestrian bridge worth RM14.2 million now that it is completed; thereafter, to haul up the respective department heads in the Kuala Lumpur City Hall for further inquiry, if wrongdoing is evident.
It is unfortunate to note that the lackasaidal attitude displayed to take stern corrective action on the rising number of cases in the past has now created a culture of corruption in this country that can only get from bad to worse. The Najib administration should not allow these cases to end up like the RM1 million toilets built in Bandar Menjalara during Ruslin Hassan’s tenure as the Datuk Bandar.
Dato’ Akhbar bin Satar, President, Transparency International Malaysia
Dr KM Loi, Secretary-General, Transparency International Malaysia