KUALA LUMPUR: Ministers will come under closer scrutiny of internal auditors and independent integrity officers to curb corruption within the civil service, says Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low.
Under the new changes, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Com-mission (MACC) will employ about 600 trained Chief Integrity Officers (CeIOs), from both within and outside the ministries.
They will be answerable to Low, as the minister in charge, as well as the MACC.
“The CeIO plan has already been implemented since December at the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry, the Youth and Sports Ministry, and the Works Ministry,” he said after speaking at a forum titled “Givers & Takers: The Integrity-Corruption Continuum” at the Malaysian Institute of Integrity yesterday.
Low said the Health and Education ministries were amongst seven ministries targeted for the plan’s implementation this year.
Under the plan, a ministry’s internal auditor would be directly accountable to the Auditor-General (A-G) instead of the respective ministry’s secretary-general or minister.
With the consent of the Auditor-General’s chambers, ministry internal auditors would have the power to call for “one-on-one discussions” with ministers to rectify irregularities and to deal with corruption or serious violations which might lead to criminal charges.
“We must have champions to carry out the transformation within a ministry, so we have set up integrity units to be headed by a trained Chief Integrity Officer who will work closely with the ministries’ internal auditors,” said Low.
He said the CeIOs would be allowed to operate free of influences of the ministry’s executive branch to maintain their independence.
“We need to ensure these CeIO officers are independent of the ministry’s executive branch.
“If I am not happy with their performance and there is no integrity, I will make a strong demand to MACC for their removal,” he said.
Low said Kedah would be the first state to introduce the CeIOs plan.
“I’m discussing this with Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir who is very enthusiastic about the move,” he added.
On DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang’s call to him to follow in Hindraf chief P. Waythamoorthy’s footsteps and quit the Government, Low said: “But why should I resign? I have not finished my plans (against corruption), come on.”
Low said he had a mission to work for the people and wanted to give due diligence to the confidence that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had in making the “brave step” in appointing him to the Cabinet.
“I’m not a quitter. I don’t quit so easily. I know what I’m doing and I’m clear on what I need to do, so I do it,” he said.