KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 29 – Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has called for external auditors to look into government spending so there would be more credibility in the public’s eye. “I read in the newspaper someone suggesting that the government should have an external auditor so that there would be more credibility in the eyes of the public.
“I think it is a good idea. But it should be extended to other government agencies, including those which are not governed by government general orders or salary scheme,” said Dr Mahathir in his latest blog posting today. He added with the country being much richer than before, the loss of a few millions would hardly be noticeable.
“This need (for external auditing) is urgent now because with Malaysia’s wealth, large sums of money are being expended and managed by both the government and the agencies. “We see entities such as Felda, EPF, Tabung Haji spending billions in acquiring foreign properties while others such as MAHB and Petronas have bought shares in airports and Canadian ventures, also involving huge sums of money.”
With these, he said, there were many things that the public want to know about. “This can be done by having an outside audit by a firm appointed by an independent body not connected with the companies to be audited. “This would help allay the suspicions and worries of the public,” he said. “The audit firms should be beholden only to the independent body as well as be paid by them. The government and its agencies should have no say at all.
“The public should be allowed to testify or at least to give information on anything they may know about the accounts being audited. While there should be transparency, in some cases the identities of the informants should not be revealed,” he said. “If this is done, the transparency in the management of public funds would be established and the government’s name would be cleared”.