Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Critical Work in Pushing for Government Accountability Must Be Beefed Up!

The Centre to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4), recently received the report card of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), spanning July 2013- April 2015.

Credit is due, and we commend its diligent work and findings thus far, highlighting in a nutshell a dysfunctional public administration that keeps failing on public services delivery and worse, lax in taking disciplinary action on errant wrongdoers.

PAC’s report card stated that in a span of 17 months, it has carried out a total of 44 proceedings on various Ministries, Agencies, and Government Linked Companies (GLCs). Added to housekeeping meetings and issues, PAC has met no less than 65 times, since its formation after GE13!

Issues covered were aplenty. Findings from 6 of the Auditor Generals reports (2013-2015), mega infrastructure projects like the KLIA2 cost overruns and delays, and promises to scrutinize the debt-ridden 1MDB, occupied much of its time. PAC has further recommended urgent disciplinary action to be taken against errant public sector officials.

So who is to blame for such shoddy performance, and notoriety of the public sector? PAC has repeated the unending calls of concerned citizens, and demanded answers as to why no action has been taken against civil servants who have embezzled public funds, distorted allocations, and caused unreasonable delays in providing services?

C4 has been further informed that PAC members don’t have support staff to assist in investigations and conducting hearings. PAC members do not get properly remunerated either for carrying out such important work. A meager RM 200 allowance to attend meetings and crack the whip on public spending must surely suggest that the executive displays utter disregard and places little importance to an institution as important as this.

There is no accountability! Minister Paul Low’s statement that PAC findings will be brought to the Cabinet bears little assurance, until the real issues of monies being stolen from taxpayers be adequately addressed and dealt with without fear of naming and shaming!

C4 Recommends:

To The Government
1. PAC must be beefed up. More resources, more staff and better remunerations for its members. It cannot be that white elephant like other institutions created only in name, with no intention of substantial outputs.
2. Datuk Paul Low must periodic public reports of cabinet meetings public as a follow through to PAC and the Auditor General’s findings.
3. Tax payers must be sensitized to such pertinent issues of public spending.

To PAC
4. Make PAC inquiries open, to allow public to be more sensitized to the issues of public spending. In this way we allow greater citizen participation and magnify voices urging government transparency and accountability.

Released By
Cynthia Gabriel
Executive Director
Centre To Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4)