Former Auditor General Ambrin Buang has been named to head the investigative committee of administrative affairs, procurement and finance by the cabinet on 6 June 2018. (Malay Mail, 6 June 2018).
Patriot applauds the creation of such a committee by the government and welcomes the appointment of Ambrin to head the committee.
Ambrin was noted for his dedication and outstanding work as auditor general. During his tenure, he exposed numerous cases of mismanagement of financial resources of ministries and departments of the past Barisan Nasional-led government.
Unfortunately, little was made known by the government about the action taken by ministries and departments in response to the findings and observations contained in the Auditor General’s yearly reports. A clear example concerns the loss of RM100m by the Youth Ministry, which remains a mystery till now despite the minister promising then to investigate.
Ambrin, in his brief statement, said the Ministry of Defence would be his first priority – and rightfully so. To most defence contractors, the ministry with its huge budget allocations provided ample opportunity for corruption – and this very likely continues to this day. There is also the case of the 40,000 hectares of military land allegedly privatised.
Patriot would like to suggest to Ambrin to look at all major procurement of defence capital equipment of the three armed services from the year 2000 onwards. Procurement exercises ran into billions of ringgit and there had been allegations of some senior military officers involved as parties to corruption in connivance with defence contractors.
It was also alleged that contracts were given to suppliers who were cronies to some senior military officers. It is common to find suppliers setting up a few companies owned by them to vie for the same contract.
Patriot would also like to suggest that the committee invites past military officers who were involved in the procurement exercise to assist the committee. An important reason for this is that, as veterans officers, they had been vetted for security clearance. We are quite certain many would be willing to come forward to expose the rot involving corrupt conduct especially in the procurement of major capital equipment for the three armed services.
Corruption in the ministry has been going on for years, and in some cases with the knowledge of those of the armed services. This has to stop and hopefully the findings of the investigative committee will put a complete halt to those years of corrupt practices by ministry officials.
BG Dato Mohamed Arshad Raji (rtd) is president of Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan.