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Minister should resign and the Secretary-General removed if the Ministry concerned fails in the Accountability Index from next year, getting only one star with less than 50% compliance in the star-rating system

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Media Statement 
by Lim Kit Siang  
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(Parliament, Saturday): The proposal by the Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang to introduce from next year the accountability index which will award star ratings to all ministries, state governments and statutory bodies for their management of public funds, is a great and very innovative initiative that must be lauded by all quarters.

 

Ambrin said the accountability index will be an objective assessment of the financial performance of ministries, departments and state governments. Marks will be given according to performance and will be translated into star ratings to measure compliance, viz:

 

  • 4 stars Excellent (90% - 100%) 
  • 3 stars Good (70% - 89%) 
  • 2 stars Satisfactory (50% - 69%) 
  • 1 star Not Satisfactory (49% and below) 

 

The promotion of secretaries-general and heads of department will also be tied to the index of their financial management performance.

 

When introducing the 2008 Budget speech last Friday, the Prime Minister-cum-Finance Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had emphasized the priority and importance of raising the level of performance of the civil service, which is critical in sustaining the competitiveness of the nation, especially in the context of increasing globalization.

 

Calling for best practices and the culture of high performance in the civil service, Abdullah had announced that beginning on 1 January 2008, Secretaries General of ministries and Heads of Services will be offered a three-year contract and their performance rewarded based on KPIs (key performance indicators).

 

This contract will be offered to officers who are currently serving in the Diplomatic and Administrative as well as in other relevant services.

 

Abdullah said that apart from ensuring excellent service, the contract period of three years will provide adequate time for them to plan and execute projects effectively.

 

The three-year contract offered to Secretaries General and Heads of Services should contain one specific clause for the termination of contract for unsatisfactory performance if  the ministry or department concerned fails in the accountability index, getting only one star with less than 50% compliance in the star-rating system, where the Secretary General or head of department had completed a full year of contract to be audited by the Auditor-General.

 

This culture of responsibility must also apply to Ministers who are heading each Ministry. Where a ministry fails in the accountability index in getting only one star in the accountability index with less than 50% compliance, the Minister concerned should also bear full responsibility and resign from the Cabinet.

 

It is only when a Minister have to resign and the Secretary-General removed if the Ministry concerned fails in the accountability index from next year, getting only one star with less than 50% compliance in the star-rating system, that the innovation proposed by the Auditor-General will have real bite and meaning in enhancing public service integrity and accountability, instead of being relegated to a long heap of fine-sounding innovations which are only good for the ears but have no impact whatsoever in improving quality, accountability and integrity of public service delivery.

 

(15/9/2007)  


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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