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Why the thunderous post-Cabinet silence over the 2006 Auditor-Generalís Report Ė Abdullah should set example for all Cabinet Ministers by appearing before PAC for Ministries of Finance and Internal Security

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Media Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang  
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(Parliament, Friday) :Why the thunderous post-Cabinet silence over the 2006 Auditor-Generalís Report Ė and does it signify the end of the three-day wonder of thunder-and-lightning in the media over abuses and mismanagement of public funds until next yearís Auditor-General Report?

 

Two Tuesdays ago, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced that he had directed all Ministers at the Cabinet meeting on Sept. 5 to go through the Auditor-Generalís Report in detail and to fully explain mismanaging funds and other irregularities in their respective ministries.

 

Last Thursday, Abdullah said the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) should step in and investigate any suspicion of corruption in ministries and government agencies implicated in the Auditor-Generalís Report 2006,

 

When was the Cabinet meeting for the Ministers to explain in detail the strictures of the Auditor-General against their respective ministries?

 

I had expected some announcement after this Wednesdayís Cabinet meeting on the outcome of the Prime Ministerís directive to all Ministers, but there is only thunderous silence.

 

Have all the Ministers been given a reprieve from having to personally account to the Cabinet for all the public fund mismanagement and irregularities in their ministries as revealed by the Auditor-Generalís Report; and if not, why is there no public accounting from the Prime Minister as to any outcome?

 

For instance, what is the explanation from the UMNO Youth leader and Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein on the mismanagement of public funds of over RM285 million in the Ministry of Youth and Sports when he was the Minister from 1999 to 2004?

 

It is no use Hishammuddin making brave statements in public that ďIíve nothing to hideĒ and calling for thorough investigations into the misuse of funds by the Youth and Sports Ministry when up to now he has failed to give any satisfactory explanation for such colossal waste of public funds as the Minister in charge. 

 

It is quite a farce for Ministers to only now go through the Auditor-Generalís Report so as to explain the public fund mismanagement and irregularities, for the Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang had confirmed that before he signed off his report on 28th June 2007, all Ministries had been given advance notice of his comments and criticisms for their confirmation Ė providing them with a last-minute opportunity for rectification or explanation.

 

This would mean that as of the present date, all ministries would have known of the Auditor-Generalís Report for some three to four months. Why should Ministers be unready to give full and satisfactory explanation whether to Cabinet, Parliament or the Malaysian public for the many horror stories about corruption, abuses of power and mismanagement of public funds, like paying RM 224 for a set of RM 40 screwdrivers, RM 5,700 for a RM 50 car jack and RM 1,146 for a RM 160 pen set (all in the Ministry of Youth and Sports).

 

The Prime Minister must not allow the Ministers to sweep the 2006 Auditor-Generalís Report under the carpet until next year.

 

Abdullah must set the example for all Cabinet Ministers by announcing that he would appear before the Public Accounts Committee to account for the public funds mismanagements highlighted by the Auditor-Generalís Report for the Ministries of Finance and Internal Security Ė and that all Cabinet Ministers are to follow suit to appear before the PAC to give full meaning to his pledge of accountability, Ministerial responsibility and the National Integrity Plan which he launched in May 2004.

 

(21/9/2007)  


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

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