JUNE 18 — The Auditor-General’s (A-G) Report never ceases to amaze me.
I remember writing Malay Mail’s frontpage article “NSC’s RM22 million bill raises eyebrows” published April 29, 2008, where the National Sports Council (NSC) was found to have spent a whopping RM22,335,867 for “professional services, celebrations and hospitality” throughout 2006.
In February 2010, I wrote that the council purchased two units of the Legend Water Chalets in Port Dickson for RM850,000 without the approval of the council’s board of directors and the chalets were never used since 2006. The A-G’s Report, had then, suggested “disciplinary action” be taken against officials involved in the transaction.
On Monday, the second series of the 2013 A-G’s report was revealed and it, once again, showed discrepancies and shortcomings by government agencies and ministries.
However, many seem to be immune with such findings, calling it “typical”.
The Broadcasting Department, formerly known as Radio Televisyen Malaysia, agreed to RM111.3 million worth of deals without inking any formal contracts.
They also entered a three-year tie-up with satellite broadcaster Astro without any formal contract.
The thought of a party entering into a monetary transaction with another party without a proper contract baffles me!
It was either those involved are clueless when it comes to such matters or choose to be ignorant.
But I was very disturbed with the revelation that the database of the Immigration Department, an agency under the Home Ministry, did not record the migrant workforce properly.
“If it’s recorded properly, we’ll know the exact number of foreign workers in the country,” Public Accounts Committee chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed was quoted as saying on Monday.
“Today, if you ask that question, it’s difficult for the ministry to answer that.”
This is seen as a threat to national security.
Is it safe to say that the ministry is clueless about the number of foreign workers who entered the country over the years and had since overstayed? How can they assure us that these foreigners are not linked to any militant groups or involved in any criminal activities?
Restaurant operators continue to hire foreigners as front-liners, blatantly disregarding the Immigration Rules 1963. Even the AG highlighted this. Yet, foreigners continue to take down our orders — from the mamak shop to five-star hotels.
It does not help that our borders remain porous; human trafficking, and smuggling of drugs, diesel and firearms continue while two more men were abducted from Kunak, Tawau early Monday morning.
This is the third incident off Sabah waters in the past three months. The series of events have bruised the reputation of the million-ringgit Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom).
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein had recently admitted the intrusions in Sabah were due to corruption and leakage of information.
While Hishammuddin was brave enough to make such an admission, the fact remains we have government agencies that could have monitored the movement of foreigners in the country but failed to do so due to poor management and enforcement.
It looks like we are both corrupt and plain silly. And sadly, such silliness could turn costly — at the expense of national security.
The silly ‘cari makan’ talk
Here’s a typical conversation you would often hear when you see a patrol car stopping another vehicle by the roadside.
“Hari Raya coming already, sure cari makan one lah.”
I pity our boys in blue, I really do.
Many would often generalise and condemn the force, saying policemen are generally corrupt but see no shame in bribing when at fault.
It reminds me of those who claim they are not racists but frown when in the company of another ethnic group.
We have a section of society who often contradict themselves, favouring a particular agenda or objective only when it suits them. They think they can outsmart the rest but often end up sounding plain silly.
To our uniformed personnel, please keep up the good work — rain or shine, Hari Raya or otherwise. But be warned that your moves will be scrutinised, as plainclothes policemen will be offering bribes to those on duty to test their integrity, as revealed recently.
To the rest, let’s drop the “cari makan” talk. If you break the law, you pay the price.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.