Based on the Auditor-General’s Report 2020 Series 1 on the Pahang state released Tuesday (August 2), evidence of mismanagement of public real estate management by Pahang State Secretariat (Perbadanan Setiausaha Kerajaan Pahang, PSK) under the Pahang state government was discovered. While more than half of its projects were flawed, PSK suffered losses of more than RM100 million due to arrears related to land transactions.
Given the gravity of the situation, the state government must not stop short at “reminding” the agency and “reviewing” its performance. Instead, it must take the Auditor-General’s Report seriously and seal the administrative loopholes by taking disciplinary or legal actions against the relevant agencies or persons-in-charge to warn and deter all public servants against committing the same malpractice.
Based on the report, from 1994 to 2020, the Pahang state government approved 548 projects on government lands, with a total size of 4,1432.53 hectares. PSK was responsible for implementing and coordinating the above mentioned projects.
Based on the audit from 2018 2020, among the 548 projects, as many as 326 projects (59.5%) were not carried out as scheduled, cancelled or even failed due to various reasons. Moreover, 115 projects (21%) were carried out but did not comply with the standards stipulated by the authorities.
In addition, PSK’s performance in collecting taxes was unsatisfactory. As of December 2020, PSK had land lease arrears of RM11.25 million, quit rent arrears of RM 29.2 million, and the most shocking of all, land disposal arrears of RM147.2 million.
The Auditor-General’s report was like a mirror that exposed serious administrative flaws and mismanagement of PSK Pahang, hence the various flawed projects. Due to the absence of checks and balances, the state government suffered losses of hundreds of millions of ringgits, and the benefits of the people of Pahang were also compromised.
Given that more than half of the projects were not carried out as scheduled or even failed, the state government must not overlook the severe situation. For instance, the state government has leased lands of 5,519 hectares to PSK since 2020. For all these years, different parties including Cameron Highlands’ farmers are worried about whether PSK is competent enough to implement its tasks and ensure good governance.
The Auditor-General’s Report reflected that PSK’s administrative system lacked KPI, accountability, and transparency, leading to the eroding trust of the people toward the agency. Therefore, the state government must reform the agency and stamp out corrupt bureaucratic practices in order to restore people’s confidence toward all public agencies.
As a matter of fact, it was not the first time that the Auditor-General’s Report had identified malpractices in PSK. In the Auditor-General’s Report of 2018 and 2016, PSK was also criticized for administrative flaws and financial mismanagement.
It is clear that PSK did not take the suggestions given by the Auditor-General seriously, which were supposed to help correct the agency’s flaws and improve the system. Despite being the largest administrative agency of the Pahang state, PSK did not set a good example of good governance but is still dismissed as a failed agency in 2022. This is an utter disgrace, and thus the state government has to improve the situation immediately.
The Auditor-General only has investigative power. Although the Auditor-General has consistently revealed the flaws, negligence, and malpractices committed by various government agencies, the Auditor-General has no power to ferret out and take actions against the officers who were guilty of malpractices, corruption, wasting taxpayer’s money, and compromising the people’s benefits as a whole.
More often than not, the Auditor-General’s Reports went to waste, for the government and enforcement agencies were unwilling to take any concrete actions based on the Auditor-General’s Report. This time, the government should punish the officers involved through disciplinary or legal actions and even put them on a blacklist in order to deter others from committing similar malpractices.
At the same time, I urge the Jawatankuasa Kira-Kira Wang (PAC) of Pahang to act based on the flaws stated in the Auditor-General’s Report, particularly the 326 projects that were not carried out as scheduled, cancelled, or failed due to various reasons. The Jawatankuasa Kira-Kira Wang Negeri Pahang should investigate if there were elements of tunnelling and corruption involved in the projects and ferret out the related officers and agencies.
Pic 1: Ringkasan LKAN 2020 Pengurusan Agensi Negeri Pahang
Pic 2: Status Projek PSK Sehingga Disember 2020