Auditor-General tells PAC to 'go to the ground'

PETALING JAYA: Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang has called on state Public Accounts Committees (PACs) to go to the ground and check for themselves in order to detect corrupt practices and other wrongdoings sooner.

Reminding government departments and agencies to pay more attention to the Auditor-General's annual reports when released, Ambrin said weaknesses in the department and agencies are often highlighted in its reports so that officials can act on them.

"Unlike the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission or police, the National Audit Department and PAC are not investigative agencies. Our function is to merely audit and highlight issues affecting the various departments," he said in his speech after opening the 2017 National PAC seminar in Kota Kinabalu, today.

Meanwhile, Sabah Special Functions Minister Datuk Teo Chee Kang who represented chief minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said stakeholders would be more confident if the PAC members adopted the approach suggested by Ambrin.

Agreeing with Ambrin's view that the PAC should scrutinise and make the Auditor-General's Report as a reference, Teo expressed hope that recurring weaknesses that were raised in the report would become the main focus for the PAC so that they would become a lesson for government departments and agencies.

"The culture of going down on the ground will help us to directly monitor that government projects and programmes are truly implemented and that the benefits reach the people so that the outcome is achieved according to plans.

"In this context, it is crucial for the PAC to ensure that implementation of projects and activities involving public funds achieve the best results, without any wastage, leakage and malpractice," he said.

Teo who read Musa's speech said the role of the PAC was crucial in helping to improve excellence in governance besides becoming the eyes and ears of the government in ensuring that the people were satisfied with the quality of government service delivery.

The one-day seminar organised by the PAC, Auditor-General's Department and the Sabah State Legislative Assembly, among other things, was held with the objective of empowering the role of the PAC besides en-culturing and strengthening integrity and accountability of the public sector and government-linked companies.

A total of 420 participants attended the seminar which was held in Sabah for the first time.

Also present were PAC Malaysia chairman Datuk Seri Hasan Arifin and PAC Sabah chairman Datuk Ahmad Bujang.