Prudence needed in use of public funds
Malaysians in general read with aghast the Auditor General’s Annual Report 2006.It was unbelievable that the various government departments have paid exorbitant prices for common items. Imagine paying RM224 for a RM32 set of screwdrivers, RM1,146 for a set of pens costing RM160, RM5,700 for a car jack worth RM50, the list is long and shocking. Besides over-spending other flaws included corruption, poor management of funds, incomplete and outdated data and lack of enforcement and manpower
What is distressing is that such mismanagement of funds does not seem to be isolated incidences but part of a generalized malaise that had inflicted almost the whole civil service. Nearly all the departments in all the states appear to be involved in some form of misuse of public money. There are set procedures and protocol for financial dealings, purchases and transactions, why are these being blatantly ignored?
These irresponsible actions are due to the lackadaisical attitude of many government officers. If they were to be spending their own money will they do such a thing? The money comes from taxes paid by the people. Money is not easy to come by these days and the people are overburdened with the escalating cost of goods, utilities, housing, education, healthcare and transportation.
Despite all these financial burdens, as law abiding citizens, people still continue to pay their taxes which come from their sweat and blood. If there is dishonesty and wastage of public funds, it would be greatest betrayal and injustice to the people by the very people who are employed to serve them.
This is not the first time that an audit report has revealed the inconsistencies and abuse in government departments. Year in and year out similar reports have brought out such discrepancies in financial management. Unfortunately no remedial actions were taken. Malaysians seem to have very short memories for such unpleasant incidences and the culprits are soon forgotten.
The Prime Minister has promised to look into the problem and we hope that action would be taken against those responsible so that these would not be repeated next year. We hope he will be able to strengthen the financial prudence, honesty and integrity of the officers at all levels of our government departments.
The Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang and his team should be commended for the excellent job they have done to expose the weaknesses in the financial management of the various departments. We hope other department heads too can follow his example to stamp out this malaise that is threatening to take deep roots in our civil service. The ball is now in the court of our political leaders. Do they have the will to stop this misuse of public funds?