Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Women national vice-president Voon Shiak Ni questioned the extent of the Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) powers and responsibility in curbing the leakage of public funds in the country which is increasingly frustrating the public.
Voon, who is PKR Stampin branch vice-chairperson, pointed out that people were frustrated to see incidents of leakages reported year after year, including in the implementation of development projects.
“Leakage of public funds is a national problem that eats into the coffers. As a result of this, it strips the people of and compromises the projects which are meant for them,” she said in a press statement yesterday.
Citing an example, Voon said it was frustrating to read the news about Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Samad who admitted that there were ‘leakages’ in Felda.
Another example she cited was of the failure to deliver a RM100 million project meant to supply water to poor villagers in Pulau Gaya in Sabah, even though funds for the project had been released.
“The project was scheduled to be completed by September 2015 but until today, the villagers there still do not have water supply. The PAC visited the water supply project this week and the project was reported to be in a terrible state. The PAC was calling for an explanation for the money disbursed for the project.”
Voon said, PAC chairman Datuk Seri Hasan Arifin was calling for every state’s PAC to be reinforced and tasked with the responsibility to help the government to monitor projects for the community.
At the Parliamentary level, Hasan had said PAC members already understood the tasks and responsibilities of the PAC and would release a report every year.
Additionally, she noted that Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman advised PACs nationwide to go down to the ground and keep tabs on the progress of development projects to ensure that the public was not being swindled, besides emphasising the importance for PAC to ensure that projects are implemented without any wastage, leakage or malpractice.
“As far as we know, PAC is a standing committee appointed among the elected representatives from State Assemblies and Parliament to review and report on the Public Accounts of Malaysia as well as examine all reports of the Auditor-General.
“They are not a team specially trained for or empowered with expertise to follow up and monitor all projects on the ground. Therefore, the suggestion to put on them the responsibility to go down to the ground and keep checking on the progress of the development project is not reasonable.”
Voon said it was pathetic that every time whenever issues like leakages or malpractices affecting the people surfaced, the public would be stuck with the run-around of ‘whose responsibility is this?’
“With all this, I can only conclude that our institutions and enforcement are weak. If there is no political will on the part of the government to monitor from inside the departments and ministries, how much can the PAC do when it is only akin to a taskforce to prevent leakages? It is only through strong institutions and systems [that we can] prevent leakages from happening.”
Source : @ The Borneo Post Online