KUALA LUMPUR: A total of RM31.66 million in unused research and development (R&D) funds held by the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM) under the previous administration has not been returned to the government, the Auditor-General’s (A-G) report said.
It said an audit conducted between November 2017 and April last year found that the funds under the 10th Malaysia Plan (2011-2015) were not utilised and not returned.
Overall, the report found the R&D programme under the science, technology and innovation ministry had not achieved the optimum efficient level as the targets set were not fully met.
“In the opinion of the audit, the balance of the unused funds was kept by ASM and was not distributed to other applicants thus failing to provide benefits for the intended purpose,” it said.
The report said weaknesses in the approval process for applications as well as monitoring affected the management of the ministry’s R&D programme.
Five R&D projects with an accumulated expenditure of RM1.4 million were terminated for failing to send their Milestone Achievement Report (MAR), and three other projects valued at RM2.9 million did not achieve their objectives.
There were also 19 late agreements which were signed only after between 46 and 408 days compared to the target of 30 days, and 28 fund applications approved four to 211 days later than the SOP of 60 days.
The report recommended that the energy, science, technology, environment and climate change ministry reclaim the unused funds from ASM.