Sabah PAC summons 7 ministries, agencies over unresolved issues

Sabah PAC chairman Abidin Madingkir (sixth from left) and members of the Sabah PAC committee questioned officials from seven ministries, agencies and departments with regards to the auditor-general’s 2018 report.

KOTA KINABALU: A total of seven ministries and state agencies were summoned by the Sabah Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to explain unresolved issues raised in the auditor-general’s 2018 report.

They include the Sabah agriculture and food industries ministry which scored only a one-star rating on the accountability index, the worst performer in the report.

State PAC chairman Abidin Madingkir said today the accountability index related to the way the public entity handled its finances.

Aside from the state agriculture ministry, the performances of the Putatan District Office and the State Islamic Affairs Department were also unsatisfactory, scoring two-star ratings.

The auditor-general’s report noted that among the unresolved issues under the agriculture and food industries ministry was that the collection of rent, amounting to RM320,306, from the Wisma Pertanian premises had not been accounted for from 2015 until 2018.

The report also noted the premises had been rented without any rental agreements or the approval of the state finance ministry.

The state ministry had also failed to balance the accounts related to a RM9.35 million allocation from the federal agriculture and agro-based industry ministry meant for 19 programmes.

Meanwhile, Abidin said the Islamic Affairs Department had failed to explain satisfactorily the unresolved issues raised in the report.

“We will summon them again in the next round of the PAC meeting. They failed to provide the necessary evidence to explain the issues although they had been given one week to compile the evidence,” he told reporters after chairing the 13-member PAC committee meeting.

This was the first Sabah PAC meeting held for the year 2020.

Madingkir said the Perbadanan Baitulmal Negeri Sabah sent a junior official and not the main person or head officer to represent it to explain certain discrepancies and, therefore, the PAC would call it again for its next meeting.

The others called in to explain issues in the report were the Sabah Fisheries Department, Sabah Veterinary Department, Sabah Wildlife Department, Sabah Railway Department, the Land Development Board and the rural development ministry.

Madingkir said the Sabah PAC would continue to summon any ministry, department or agency that had failed to explain the issues satisfactorily or had not made the necessary improvements.

“Overall, I am satisfied with the explanations given by them, but they have to improve so that there is no repetition of the issues. We will continue to monitor all of them and ensure action is taken to resolve the issues. If need be, we will also go to the ground to ensure they remedy the problems,” he said.