In­de­pen­dent au­dit needed

> Depart­ment should func­tion from out­side ex­ec­u­tive body, says au­di­tor-gen­eral


KUALA LUMPUR: The Na­tional Au­dit Depart­ment should not be un­der the ex­ec­u­tive body, said Au­di­tor-Gen­eral Tan Sri Am­brin Buang.

In line with the govern­ment trans­for­ma­tion plan, it was de­cided that the depart­ment be placed out­side the am­bit of the ex­ec­u­tive body.

“The ba­sic prin­ci­ple is that an au­dit depart­ment any­where in the world ... they au­dit the ex­ec­u­tive branch. The ex­ec­u­tive branch is the one that spends the money.

“So, in or­der to be in­de­pen­dent, they should not be in the ex­ec­u­tive branch,” he said yes­ter­day af­ter a panel dis­cus­sion ti­tled “In­tegrity and Gover­nance in the Pub­lic Sec­tor”.

Dur­ing the dis­cus­sion, he said Malaysia and Brunei are the only coun­tries which have placed the na­tional au­dit en­tity un­der the govern­ment, call­ing them the ‘Na­tional Au­dit Depart­ment’.

“In other coun­tries, they are much more in­de­pen­dent from the ex­ec­u­tives (by be­ing) ei­ther di­rectly un­der Par­lia­ment or es­tab­lished as a com­mis­sion,” he said.

Am­brin said al­though the govern­ment has de­cided to place the au­dit depart­ment out­side the ex­ec­u­tive body, some as­pects had not been fi­nalised.

“What is the for­mat? Is it go­ing to be di­rectly un­der Par­lia­ment or es­tab­lished as a com­mis­sion?

“If we are go­ing to be un­der Par­lia­ment like in the United King­dom, then Par­lia­ment must be ready to ac­cept us. If not, then we have to (func­tion as) a com­mis­sion. If we want to set up a com­mis­sion, then we have to amend the Fed­eral Con­sti­tu­tion,” Am­brin said.

Not­ing that the ac­tion com­mit­tee on the au­di­tor-gen­eral’s re­port had ac­tively fol­lowed up on pos­si­ble abuse of power and breach of trust by civil servants, he said in the past three years, 150 civil servants have faced dis­ci­plinary ac­tion that in­cluded dis­missals and fines.

While urg­ing the pub­lic to ac­tively in­ter­act with the au­dit depart­ment on the re­port, he said many peo­ple were still un­aware of the au­di­tor-gen­eral’s in­ter­ac­tion fea­ture on the depart­ment’s web­site.

“You can ac­cess this but un­for­tu­nately, re­sponse is not so good. Peo­ple be­come ag­i­tated for some time (when the re­port is re­leased) and then go back to nor­mal and wait for the next re­port.

“I cer­tainly would like to see the re­port be in­ter­ac­tive, where you can ask ques­tions and the de­part­ments con­cerned can re­spond. Un­for­tu­nately, many peo­ple are not aware of this and there is not enough com­mu­ni­ca­tion,” he said.

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