Time to charge public officials for negligence — Wan Saiful Wan Jan

JUNE 10 — On June 1, 2015, a Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam (Public Service Department, or JPA) scholarship recipient who is studying in Poland wrote to a local paper complaining about the price of his one way ticket to Malaysia that he received from the JPA office. The price, according to him, is thrice more expensive than the normal price. He had raised the matter to the JPA office, but no action was taken.

​Commenting on the letter, Wan Saiful Wan Jan, CEO of IDEAS said, “​paying above market prices seems to be the norm in our government procurement practices. The Auditor General's Reports in the past have highlighted a number of purchases that are way beyond the normal market price: RM3,810 for a wall clock and RM14,670 for a scanner. And yet, when it comes to selling assets like land that the government sold to 1MDB, prices are way below market price.”

“I urge the Auditor General to look into the procurement of ticket prices for JPA scholars in his next audit cycle. And I really hope that if the report comes out, the cases are not treated as negligence per se. There should be serious investigation on whether corruption is involved. Questions should be asked are: Why are such purchases approved by the head of department? Were sufficient quotes obtained, and was the lowest price submitted?”

“Cases like this should also prompt the government to be serious about regulating public misconduct.”

“I hope to see the government charging public officials with negligence. If done seriously, cases like this as well as the presently growing crisis of 1MDB would be less likely to take place in the future.”

Media statement from Wan Saiful Wan Jan, chief executive of IDEAS (Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs) in Kuala Lumpur on June 10, 2015.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail Online.

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