KUALA LUMPUR, June 4 — The federal government will bring in external auditors to ensure that the Tabung Harapan Malaysia trust fund is above board, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng today.
Lim said an accounting firm would be brought in to audit the trust fund, and ensure that each cent donated was used to reducing the federal government’s debt.
Speaking during a live televised interview aired on Astro Awani tonight, the Bagan MP said this would assure the public that the fund remained 'clean'.
“Some will ask if the money will be misused for other reasons. Don’t worry, because we will bring in an accounting firm to make sure every cent is used for the right reason,” Lim said.
“We know we are clean but we want to assure the people that we are also viewed as clean.”
The external audit will be part of a mechanism that the government plans to put in place to ensure that suspicious financial dealings would not happen again.
Another, Lim said, would see the federal government’s accounting system changed from a cash-basis to an accrual basis.
“We must also ensure that our financial statements are an open-book. There will be no more red files that the Auditor-General or the Accountant-General cannot access,” Lim said.
“What is important is institutional reform. Maybe now we don’t have any problems.”
“But once the institutions are built, they must be strengthened so they can continue after we are gone. That is vital.”
Lim said issues like the red files could only happen if those holding high offices committed breaches of trust, by keeping these documents for themselves.
He pointed out that those who were denied access should have lodged complaints, adding that those who failed to do so should also bear some responsibility.
Lim said one of the aspects behind this was the previous “climate of fear”, where people believed that those in power could not only determine their future, but also handed down punishments.
“This is why they were scared to tell the truth. But when we became the government, I felt it was vital to tell the people our real financial situation.
“Some said that I should not be too honest, but I believe this is the people’s right. Investors and the people have the right to know what they see is what they get.”
In their efforts to heal the economy, Lim said it was important to ensure that the lower category (golongan bawah) was not impacted negatively.
He noted that the government could not be overzealous to carry out reforms, as doing so could harm the country.
“If we are not careful, the country could go bankrupt and we will not allow this to happen.
“That is why we ask the people to understand that we can only fulfill all of Pakatan’s promises once the financial situation allows for it.”