PUTRAJAYA, July 18 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today disclosed that his government is studying amending the Audit Act 1957 to provide more independence to the National Audit Department and the auditor-general (A-G).
The prime minister said the previous government had abused the law to tell government auditors, who are under the supervision of Prime Minister’s Department, what to do.
“What has happened in the past is the prime minister directs the auditor-general to go audit this and not audit that. This is wrong.
“The auditor-general must be free to take action,” Dr Mahathir told a press conference after chairing a Special Cabinet Committee on Anti-Corruption at the Prime Minister’s Office here.
“Strictly speaking, it (the National Audit Department) is under the Prime Minister’s Department, but it doesn’t mean the prime minister should have authority over the auditor-general.”
Earlier in the meeting, Dr Mahathir said the committee agreed in principle on several suggestions to give more freedom to the National Audit Department, including amending the Audit Act.
Last August, Dr Mahathir said Putrajaya was looking at placing the department under Parliament rather than the Prime Minister’s Department.
The decision was made at the third meeting of the committee to remove the prime minister’s prerogative to dismiss or demote the auditor-general.
Presently, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong appoints the auditor-general on the prime minister’s advice.