I APPRECIATE the comments made in the letter “Good governance the best way to fight corruption” (The Star; online at bit.ly/star_govern). I would like to add two further steps to strengthen the case for tighter corporate governance in Malaysia.
> The approving committees within the government should comprise individuals who are independent of each other. Also, committees should constitute civil servants who are not junior to the chairmen of the committees; they should be of the same grade at the very least.
The independence of the committees is tattered if they are under the influence of a chairman whose seniority is well-known among committee members – if there’s a need to speak up, how could they do so against someone who could be or become their boss?
Currently, can the decisions made by government committees be considered truly independent?
> It has been historical practice that Malaysian auditors-general are drawn from senior civil service officers who may come from the secretaries-general of ministries. Thus their independence in carrying out their duties could arguably be disputable.
Second, their competence in handling internal auditing could be questionable, too, as they might not have any accounting or commercial backgrounds. To uphold independence and ensure efficiency, the Auditor-General should be a qualified accountant from outside the civil administration.
I strongly believe changing these practices will strengthen corporate governance in Malaysia’s government administration.
DR HJ ARRIFFIN MANSOR