Body to check on progress of ongoing govt projects

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IPOH — The Perak government plans to set up a special body that will carry out checks on the progress of ongoing government projects.

The body could consist of state assemblymen and technical experts who would verify and monitor the progress and work done.

This comes after the state discovered alleged fraudulent activities at the state-owned Amanjaya Careers Centre (PeKA) that could involve hundreds of thousands of ringgit.

State youth and sports executive committee chairman Howard Lee Chuan How said that the body would continually check on the progress of projects, as opposed to auditing projects once
completed.

If implemented, Lee said it would be a key institutional reform brought about by the new government.

“We knew there was a need for this and was surprised that something like this didn’t exist,” he said.

“There needs to be a body that conducts rolling, dynamic checks. They would look at a project and say that something needs to be done by a certain time to remain on schedule.”

Lee said the concept was different from the checks carried out by agencies like the national or Perak state audit departments.

“The audit department can check after work is completed or not completed within a certain time frame. The body we are mulling will be looking forward instead of looking back. It should be a microscope instead of a telescope,” he said.

“This will allow us to ensure that things we promised will be carried out. And if and when they are carried out, we will be able to check the progress.”

At the moment, Lee said there was no specific body responsible for monitoring ongoing government projects.

“For example, the Economic Planning Unit wears a lot of hats. They are supposed to be the planner, they dole out the money, and they do the checking. But there is a difference between financial auditing and work auditing.”

“You can’t have an implementation body verifying the implementation. That is why we are looking at setting up a separate body.”

Lee said it was too early to project when this would be done, but stressed that this was something he took seriously.

This, he said, had been accelerated by the state’s investigations into PeKA’s dealings.

After embarking on an internal audit of the centre, the state gathered enough evidence to allege that a consultant company hired by PeKA knowingly misled the centre’s board of directors by providing false information on several issues, including the number of annual job placements in Perak.

The director of the company made a presentation to the board of directors, saying that they achieved 6,000 placements yearly in Perak.

But after an internal audit, the number was found to be actually around 100 placements.

The company also allegedly shirked in making Employee Provident Fund contribution payments, Telekom Malaysia (TM) bills and rental of its office in the Amanjaya Terminal here — which ran into hundreds of thousands of ringgit.