YEAR in and year out, the auditor-general highlights cases of malfeasance by officials in ministries, departments, agencies and government-linked companies but no action is taken to prevent such occurrences, resulting in staggering losses of taxpayers’ monies.

In the latest report, the auditor-general made 64 recommendations for implementation by the errant parties but it remains to be seen how many of them will be implemented.

Has there been an audit of all the previous years’ recommendations? Are the yearly losses due to poor governance, planning, negligence, oversight, corruption or ineptitude?

In monetary terms, accumulated deficits have amounted to billions of ringgit. With just RM1 billion, the government could have built 10,000 low cost houses or provided better facilities to our hospitals to improve the quality of life of the people.

It is time we plugged all loopholes and injected a sense of responsibility into those entrusted with the duty to serve the people. Since checks and balances have failed, perhaps we should employ out-of-the-box solutions for this recurring problem. We can introduce a Whistleblower Incentive Programme, coupled with financial incentives for reporting misconduct. This can encourage insiders to come forward with information on malfeasance.

Implement advanced data analytics tools to detect patterns of fraudulent activities to identify and address issues before they escalate.

Implement a policy mandating regular rotations of leadership positions to prevent the development of entrenched power structures.

Establish an Independent Oversight Commission with experts to oversee operations and provide recommendations for improvement.

Instead of relying on an annual auditor-general’s report, can’t we have half-yearly or even quarterly reports? This will ensure swift remedial action. These unconventional approaches, alongside traditional measures can help break the cycle of malfeasance and foster a culture of accountability within government institutions.

Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye

Member of Integrity Institute of Malaysia