In bold headlines on the front page of a leading newspaper in Sabah, a question was raised about the credibility of the Auditor-General’s Report for the year ending 2017.
Chief Minister Shafie Apdal of Warisan has seen it fit to cast doubt on the integrity and credibility of the report, especially since it gave the administration of his predecessor, Musa Aman, a pass with flying colours.
The question now is: if we cannot trust an official report – from none other than the auditor-general – who really can we trust and rely on for honest answers?
The man on the street is not privy to the details of how the government spends. We are told by our ministers and politicians that so much has been lost through leakage and unnecessary wastage. We therefore have to rely on the Auditor-General’s Report to understand how the taxpayers’ money has been spent, wisely or otherwise.
Now the chief minister of Sabah is telling us in not so many words that such reports can be tampered with, citing 1MDB as an example.
Here’s my question: should I believe Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng when he paints a negative picture of the Kelantan state government based on government audited reports?
What about the performance of the various GLCs? Are the reports on Felda, Tabung Haji and the likes close to the truth?
Should I even give any credibility to the statements of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad when he slams the deeds of the previous Barisan Nasional government and Najib Razak (again, based on “evidence”) on which Shafie has now cast doubt?
If government instruments are dubious, then a major revamp of these instruments is certainly in order.
If the auditor-general’s office produces “fake” reports or reports that can be tampered with as implied by Shafie, what is the point of carrying out audits by that department? Why even allow such a department to exist if all it ever does is mislead the public with false audited reports?
On the other hand, if the Auditor-General’s Report has told it like it is, we should be magnanimous and give the devil his due. This is where political maturity comes in. That is the way you will win friends even among your adversaries. Just concede where you must and people will thank you wholeheartedly.
Our prime minister is leading the way. Mahathir has said that even angels can make mistakes. Whether we like it or not, it is better to play by the rules. So far the Pakatan Harapan government has been doing just that, whether it concerns 1MDB or the solar hybrid project.
If there has been any tampering with any audited reports, it’s best to let the rightful authorities handle it.
Just do your part. We can do the rest.
Clement Stanley is an FMT reader.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.