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Town hall to address issues in AG Report must be held across all ministries

Publish date: Sat, 02 Dec 2023, 03:29 PM

PUTRAJAYA: Secretaries-general to all ministries must clarify the actions and measures taken for respective ministries in response to the findings in the Auditor General's Report.

Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali said a town hall session would be held with the secretary-general to allow them to clarify actions taken in addressing issues highlighted in the report.

He added that the town hall would also act as a platform to ensure issues highlighted in the report were optimally addressed.

"We have carried out many town hall sessions (previously) and we want to start conducting it again this year.

"God willing that with the town hall, we will inform what actions we have taken (and will take) regarding the warnings issued in the report," he said in an interview session with media in conjunction with the one-year celebration of the unity government.

Previously, the government had organised town hall sessions from 2014 until 2017 to enable ministries' top officials or agencies to clarify actions that they took following warnings highlighted in the report.

The town hall sessions were also conducted to allow the media to receive in-depth information and feedback from relevant ministries and agencies regarding specific issues.

At the same time, Mohd Zuki added that he had instructed the Public Service Department to coordinate the town hall session.

Commenting further, Mohd Zuki also said that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was serious about the findings of the report, where the latter stressed that similar mistakes should not occur in the future.

This comes after Anwar's instruction for the report to be debated in parliament and accompanying recommendations to be given due attention.

The prime minister said the report should be scrutinised by each ministry, government department and agency and receive follow-up action.

"The prime minister has stated that he wants all departments to record all discussions and wants us to monitor whether actions are taken by relevant ministries.

"This is to ensure that similar mistakes will not happen again (in the future), hence, I will monitor the report that will be discussed.

"The report was discussed (previously) but not monitored at a higher level and this shows that the prime minister is serious about the report."

Meanwhile, Mohd Zuki said any proposal to upgrade the audit department to become an independent commission must be discussed with the cabinet.

"Every proposal needs to be presented and discussed with the cabinet for the department to be like the Election Commission and to report directly to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong."

The 2022 Auditor-General's Report published last month revealed a total loss of public funds worth RM681.71 million involving six government programmes.

Auditor General Datuk Wan Suraya Wan Mohd Radzi said this was based on 16 performance audits worth RM208.882 billion carried out in 14 ministries.

She added that six programmes that suffered losses were the Padi Planting Management Programme; Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) Property Development Management; the management and regulation of firearms of the departments and agencies under the Home Ministry; the management of the Marine Protected Area Conservation Programme; the Investment Promotion Programme for the Manufacturing Sector; and the management of the Safe City Programme.

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