ASM yet to return RM31.66m unused funds to govt: Audit report

15 Jul 2019 / 16:36 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: A total of RM31.66 million in unused R&D funds held by the Academy Sciences of Malaysia (ASM) under the previous government has not been returned to the government, according to the Auditor-General’s Report 2018 Series 1.

The finding was discovered when an audit was conducted between November 2017 and April 2018 which found the fund under the 10th Malaysia Plan (2011-2015) was not utilised and it was not returned.

On the overall, the second audit report found the research and development programme fund under the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (Mosti) under the previous administration has not achieved the optimum efficient level as the targets set were not fully met.

“In the opinion of the Audit, the balance of the unused funds was kept by ASM and was not distributed to other applicants thus failing to provide benefits for the intended purpose,” said the report issued today.

Besides, the weakness in unused fund also showed the approval process for application and agreement as well as physical monitoring affected the management of the R&D programme of the ministry, the report said.

Among them, five R&D projects with an accumulated expenditure of RM1.4 million were terminated for failing to send their Milestone Achievement Report (MAR) as well as three R&D projects valued at RM2.9 million which did not achieve their objectives in the agreement.

Apart from that, there were 19 late agreements which were signed between 46 to 408 days compared to the target of 30 days as well as 28 fund applications that was approved late by MOSTI for between four to 211 days compared to its standard operating procedure of 60 days.

Therefore, the report recommended the Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry (Mestecc) made claims from ASM for the unused funds.

Apart from that, the Mestecc Fund division should conduct their first monitoring visit within three months after the initial payment had been issued to the entity to ensure the R&D programme has began.

The division also needs to carry out follow-up visits before or after the expenditure claims were made to ensure the progress and implementation of project apart from providing SOP to manage collecting back and claiming funds for project that have been terminated. — Bernama

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