I was ready to pack my bag and head home after my Microeconomics class when my noble intention was halted by my man-eating lecturer, suggesting that we attend a talk cum discussion by the Auditor General of Malaysia, Yg Berbahagia Tan Sri Datuk Amrin bin Buang.
What a mouthful. His real name is only one word and the rest are narcissistic endearment terms.
Anyway, in order to impress my lecturer and gain some useful current information, reluctantly I agreed to go. Besides, my BFF Ann Jie aka Paris and Husna and Faris are tagging along as well, so it won't be a snooze fest with my friends around. What's the worst thing that could possibly be right?
The auditor general (AG) was having some serious flaw with his presentation and public speaking skill. The talk was not engaging at all. He talked like someone who has had 5 martinis - so blurry and unorganised.
And that wasn't the best/worst part yet (depends on how you look at it).
During the Q&A session, Ann Jie and I managed to come out with some of the loop holes in his speech/stand/opinion/answers:
- Only the ministries are subjected under compulsory annual auditing while state goverment and local councils are not. The reason? Not enough people to do the job because there are 'too many' local council in our country and National Audit lacked out manpower to cope with all of them.
Verdict: If that's so, why not recruit more? Besides, the unemployment rate among graduates in our country is 6% and building up and any additional recruitment will always be welcomed. And why not recruit them since the early establishment of the National Audit in 1970s?
- When asked by my friend how independent is the National Audit, he kept on chanting on how he's so dedicated to his work, not influenced by any political interest, Pak Lah or Najib have never told him to do this or that etc. However, he admit that his power is somewhat limited because subjected under the PM's Office.
Verdict: What kind of independent in the world is that? For sure your findings will be biased toward...well, you know who.
- Which brings me to number 3. When a lecturer asked him, how come in the currently-published 2007 record there's '0% unsatisfactory' regarding the PBT or local council when almost everyday we were entertained with malpractices and wrongdoings of the PBT, he barely answered that only some PBTs are investigated and perhaps the one committing those were not included in the audit last year.Verdict: Come on. What kind of answer is that? If you did not cover all of the authorities, why should the public and the government rely on your report? You only used some of the PBTs as a sample and that made up the whole picture of how PBTs in Malaysia work? That did not sound like a good National Audit report.
Initially, he must have thought "Aiseh why tak banyak org dtg?" But towards the end after being bombarded with questions, he must have gone like "Thank god tak ramai this celaka people."
Ann Jie and I, well, at least half of me (I look fat, aren't I?). Two of the objects despised by the AG that day :)
- Earlier, he proudly told the floor that other Audits like the UK's and the Australian are much more precised because they are not bound to the government, but to the Parliament - unlike ours, subjected under the PM's Office. We are only fed with info given by the PM's Office. ONLY THAT. No other data excavating is allowed. So, again, my friend asked his opinion (not accusing or anything, just an opinion from him) which one would he rather - to be under the PM's office and be 'independent' or have complete fairness by being under the Parliament, like Australia and UK (to name a few)?
Verdict: To our surprise, he was being so defensive and kept on accusing our bunch (who's supporting my friend who asked the question) as a manic-freedom fighter. He kept on whining and harping on how hard his job is and other boring facts and he DID NOT answer the simple, direct question. Probably because he was afraid of giving the wrong remarks since he's under the PM's Office. That's total independence and fairness, right? Yeah, right. Eat my ass.
- He kept on contradicting himself by stating that he's very contented being under the scrutiny of the PM's Office and with the allocation given each year for the Audit to carry out their job. However, earlier he echoed how there was not enough manpower to fully cope with all local councils and state governments. And yet he still wants to be under the PM's Office, with lack of freedom and less funding? WTH?
- A lecturer asked who audits the Auditor General? To which he jokingly replied 'my wife' (which we not found amusing at all). He later elaborated that the Auditor General is audited by their source of information by doing check-and-balance with the data given.
Verdict: If your data provider itself is the PM's Office, what kind of evaluation will you get? Fishy.
What was a snooze-fest for us turned into somewhat a losing debate for him. All in all, he never really addressed any of the questions thrown. He just diverted from the questions by rambling about other stuff which were not in relevance at all.
We left when the session was officially closed with a wide grin on our faces. Yet, there's still this discontent and disappointment deep inside seeing such man running our country and manipulating tax-payers money. We just hoped for the best. Amen.