Media Statement by Tony Pua, Member of Parliament for Petaling Jaya Utara and DAP National Publicity Secretary in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, 18 June 2014
Yesterday at a media event to discuss the latest Auditor-General’s Report, Datuk Paul Low, the minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of integrity, said the Auditor-General’s Reports in Malaysia that consisted of thick volumes, were very detailed in comparison with Singapore’s.
“Look at Singapore’s audit report, it’s only 70 pages, so in that sense, the practice we have today exceeds the norm of accountability for the public sector,” he said
The Minister designated to be responsible for “transparency and accountability” and the associated reforms in the Cabinet should not insult the intelligence of Malaysians by making such incredulous and unjustifiable claims.
There could be so many reasons why the Singapore’s audit report is so much thinner than that of Malaysia’s including the fact that Singapore has much better accountability, transparency and compliance norms that do not require their Auditor-General to deliver such “thick” reports found in Malaysia.
In fact, the Minister should perhaps be more concerned with the fact that our reports are thicker because there is so much to report in Malaysia, demonstrating that there is a high degree of incompetence, negligence, wastage and even corruption in the country.
It is unbelievable that Datuk Paul Low has the cheek to compare our reports given the fact that Malaysia is ranked a lowly 53rd on the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (TI-CPI) last year compared to Singapore, which is ranked 5th best in the world!
Furthermore, what is the point of being allegedly “open and transparent” when the problems of wastage, incompetence, negligence and corruption repeat itself on a yearly basis?
The Minister should be ashamed that the Government has failed to institute effective measures and reforms to curb the excesses identified in the yearly Auditor-General Reports.
Despite millions of ringgit being lost through leakage and wastage by civil servants, the Chief Secretary of Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa highlighted yesterday that no action was required by the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over the 55 punitive reprimands found in the first series of the report involving ministries as there was “no element of graft” found.
In contrast, despite the mocked thinness of the Singapore’s report, the island-nation’s civil servants have been charged and found guilty in high-profile corruption cases, despite the country's high rankings on the TI-CPI.
On 31 May 2013, Lim, the ex-commissioner of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), was convicted of one charge of corruptly obtaining sexual gratification from a female general manager of a vendor in the IT industry in exchange for favouring the business interests of her employer.
On 28 May 2013, Tey Hsun Hang, a professor at the National University of Singapore (NUS), was found guilty of six charges of corruption including two acts of sexual intercourse with, and the receipt of four gifts of varying monetary values from, one of his law students and was sentenced to five months in jail.
On 21 February 2014, Edwin Yeo, an Assistant Director at Singapore's anticorruption agency was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to misappropriating about S$1.76 million (RM4.3 million) in public funds.
Most recently on 31 May 2014, Media Development Authority (MDA) Assistant Director Lai Wai Khuen, admitted to one charge each of trying to get a loan and forgery, and three charges of getting loans of between $1,500 and $5,000 from various people in return for facilitating MDA grants.
Hence the fact that the Malaysian Auditor-General’s report which is many times thicker than Singapore’s 70-page report failed to find any guilty party for the hundreds of millions of losses is not a point of self-praise, but a disgraceful black mark on the performance of our “transparency” Minister and the Government.