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.