The Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) would like to call the government to table the government procurement act in the parliament as soon as possible and implement at all levels of government to resolve leakages revealed in the Auditor General‘s (A-G) Report 2017 Series 2.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has indicated in Budget 2019 that the government will implement the act by 2019 due to leakages of the past administration, reported by the Edge market on 2nd November 2018.
However, an exact date was not given.
A public procurement act is vital in the current fiscal environment which is debt ridden and there is an urgent need to plug leakages to reduce government expenses which led to wastage of tax payers’ money. There is a continuous damaging trend of wastage which has not been addressed even though it has been highlighted by the A-G in its reports annually.
The latest A-G Report indicated that 61% of the federal departments did not comply with procurement policies as they failed to meet the 39 criteria for procurement. The departments are also deemed as high risk. This is presented in a chart on page 81 of the A-G report.
Out of the 61%, seven federal departments made direct purchases amounting to RM3.2 million beyond the stipulated limit of RM20,000. Another federal agency made purchases of RM0.85 million without an open tender. The purchases of the seven federal departments includes stationary supplies, printing, maintenance, smart television and many more.
The A-G report identified issues such as inaccurate and incomplete information of the department’s expenses, contracts signed beyond due date and failure to comply with Integrity Pact. There is also a case of lack of accountability since members of quotation committee and quotation assessment committee are not formally elected by the head of department or the relevant officers.
The new government promised the rakyat to implement the procurement act, make government procurement information available online and replace selective tender with open tender offering
C4 would like recommend the following recommendations;
The Public procurement Act must effectively address conflict of interest issues, and cut the ugly culture of patronage politics.
This cannot operate alone, hence the announcements of the creation of the Public Ombudsman Office, must come hand in hand.
The enforceability of the act must have clear punitive measures outlined to act on wrongdoers across the supply chain and ensure effective implementation.
Parliament must further equip the Public Accounts Committee to conduct thorough investigations on the serious malfeasance reported in the AG report, and ensure punitive action is clearly meted out, via the Chief Secretary.
Executive Director, C4 Center