Transparency International Malaysia strongly supports the new guidelines introduced by the National Audit Department (NAD) to ensure that government officials entrusted to make investments with public funds must follow new guidelines on accountability and also have the necessary credentials.
The new directive also requires that members of committees giving out government tenders should also be qualified and be present during all meetings to ensure procedures are followed before a final decision is made.
The introduction of an Accountability Index rating system which provides for four performance rankings ranging from "poor" for those scoring below 49% to a "four star excellent" rating for those scoring 90-100% for government ministries, government agencies and statutory bodies, local authorities etc is a step in the right direction. In this respect we suggest there should be a fifth rank for "bad performance" for those scoring below 30% as a reflection of the seriousness of this rating system.
The ratings should also be done annually for all agencies - as proposed for all ministries and state treasuries, and not just once in three years for the other agencies as a step for timely intervention to correct mismanagement.
We are also encouraged that the Auditor-General, Tan Sri Ambrin Buang and the NAD are pushing for suitably qualified and experienced employees are appointed to important positions and for proper succession plans to ensure no disruption in public services.
The proposal to correlate promotion of secretaries-general and department heads to their respective financial performance index will help ensure accountability in the stewardship of public funds and bring comfort to our tax payers.
Amongst others, the guidelines require that department heads make surprise checks to ensure proper management and utilisation of funds and timely and transparent quarterly reports by financial management committees and development committees. We propose that development committees should meet monthly and not quarterly to ensure effective monitoring of the implementation of projects.
We especially welcome the requirement that government assets should be kept and maintained on schedule and used strictly only for are official work is very timely.
The issuance of this new directive is a clear sign that the Auditor-General is serious about checking corruption and abuse of public funds and public assets and is in line with the Prime Minister and the Chief Secretary's publicly stated goal of improving the delivery system, under PEMUDAH .
TI-Malaysia also urges PEMUDAH to take heed of this latest directive and help monitor compliance with it amongst the departments and agencies concerned.
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