Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh, Good Morning and Salam Satu Malaysia.
Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri Ambrin bin Buang;
Auditor General of Malaysia;
Mr. Shashi Kant Sharma;
Chairman of The Asian Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (ASOSAI) and Comptroller & Auditor General of India;
Dr. Sun Baihou;
Deputy Auditor General of Supreme Audit Institutions China on behalf of the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) Chairman,
Dr. Josef Moser;
Secretary General of The International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) and President of the Austrian Court of Audit,
Distinguished Heads of Supreme Audit Institutions and Dignitaries,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
1. I am delighted to be here to address this august assembly of Asian auditors. On behalf of all Malaysians, I bid all the Asian Auditor-Generals and members of their delegation a very warm welcome. Selamat datang, and welcome to Malaysia. This is a historical occasion for the Malaysian National Audit Department, a founding member of The Asian Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (ASOSAI) as it is the first time we have been given the honour of hosting this Assembly.
2. The election of Malaysia as the host – and our Auditor-General as the head of the association – pays tribute to one of the oldest constitutional institutions in Malaysia. It also honours the memory of Malaysia’s distinguished ASOSAI Secretary-Generals, including the late Tan Sri Ahmad Noordin and Tan Sri Dato’ Ishak Tadin.
3. In the 36 years of its existence, ASOSAI has rendered an invaluable service to its members: contributing to individual achievement, national development, and regional progress. I am pleased that Supreme Audit Institutions (SAI) Malaysia has played an active role in supporting capacity-building and knowledge-sharing activities of the ASOSAI and the recently established ASEAN Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions or ASEANSAI. This tradition of engagement reflects our commitment to fostering international cooperation, and our readiness to share our experiences with other countries.
4. It also shows our determination to improve our own systems; to ensure that our governance standards keep up with our rapid economic growth. Training is of paramount importance, and here I would like to recognise the vital role of the National Audit Academy – which trains not only our auditors, but also those from other countries. As a centre of excellence, since its inception 10 years ago, it has trained over 600 auditors from 68 countries.
5. Malaysia has long recognised the important role played by Government auditors as in strengthening governance and ensuring integrity in the public sector: conditions which are essential to our nation’s development. Malaysia’s story is remarkable: in the six decades since independence, we have grown from a commodity-based economy into a fast-developing nation, on the threshold of high-income status. This success would not be possible without a public service which benefited from the informed scrutiny of audit.
6. From our own national experience, we see that Government auditors have contributed significantly on everything from revenue collection to project spending, unlocking economic growth for the benefit of the people. As a responsible, accountable and democratically elected Government, we take audit findings and recommendations very seriously. Freed from the constraints of electoral politics, auditors offer an independent and professional opinion, grounded in objectivity and a resolute commitment to improving productivity and increasing efficiency.
7. We also take seriously our responsibilities to act on the findings presented to us: to take corrective and even punitive actions when necessary, so that shortcomings are addressed promptly and without prejudice. And I assure you that the Malaysian Government not only remains open to suggestions from our auditors, but also values their input in policy reviews, planning and evaluation of Government projects. In Malaysia, auditors have played a considerable role in initiatives to strengthen governance and integrity in the public service; stepping outside their traditional remit.
8. The Supreme Audit Institutions (SAI) Malaysia is involved in auditing large-scale Government projects such as the Mass Rapid Transit project, the High Speed Rail line connecting Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, and the huge Integrated Petroleum and Gas Project in Johor. SAI Malaysia’s participation, alongside the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, will assure the public that these projects will be efficiently and effectively implemented with an eye to integrity and value for money. As we look to build a strong and efficient public service, and maintain public trust in our governance systems, we seek the continued assistance of our auditors.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
9. Since 2008, Malaysia has been on a journey of national transformation. The National Audit Department has been assigned specific tasks to nurture a high-performance culture in the public service; to ensure that our public servants remain efficient and prudent, actively combat fraud and corruption, and prioritise service delivery to the public. Under the Government Transformation Programme, our audit institution is not only actively involved in auditing Government projects, but also monitors follow-up actions and reports to the public through an AG Online Dashboard. All Secretary Generals and Ministers are directly responsible for following through on AG report issues, and have been assigned a KPI for resolution of such issues to ensure appropriate action is taken. Heads of Ministries and agencies are also encouraged to engage with the media after the submission of the audit report in the Parliament.
10. Since its introduction in 2007, the Government has incorporated the Accountability Index as a key performance indicator, ensuring that controlling officers comply with prevailing financial rules and regulations. The Accountability Index, an innovation by Supreme Audit Institutions Malaysia, stands out as a singular example of our commitment to the cause. Since 2013, I have also assigned a specific Minister to promote good governance and integrity. Although there remains much to be done, we are encouraged that our efforts to combat corruption have seen a slight improvement in our Corruption Perception Index.
11. Indeed, there is much more accountability and transparency in Government financial management today than at any time in Malaysia’s history. This is an important part of our efforts to instill a high performance culture in public administration, for the benefit of the people.
12. In striving for continued progress to enhance governance, we have supported International initiatives to strengthen the role and capacity of Government auditors. And we have responded to The International Organisation of Audit Supreme Institutions (INTOSAI)’s call for the international community to strengthen audit institutions. In this regard, I would like to congratulate INTOSAI for their hard work and success in obtaining a United Nations General Assembly resolution committing nations to “Promoting and fostering the efficiency, accountability, effectiveness and transparency of public administration by strengthening supreme audit institutions”. This will make a contribution to national development objectives around the world.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
13. The theme for the 6th ASOSAI Symposium ‘Leveraging Technology to Enhance Audit Quality and Effectiveness’ is timely and welcome: auditors in both the public and private sectors can undoubtedly benefit from greater use of technology. The tools we have today will allow us to produce better quality audits with an emphasis on speed, accuracy and integrity. By sharing information and experiences in using such technology, ASOSAI Members stand to benefit – as do the nations they represent. SAI Malaysia has strived to increase the use of technology in their auditing work in recent years, and I am very happy to learn that they have won a Grand Prize Award for the transformative use of the Audit Command Language (ACL) software in 2014, for which I offer my sincere congratulations.
14. On that note, I wish to thank ASOSAI for inviting me to speak at this Assembly, and I wish you all a fruitful session. I trust you will have an enjoyable stay in Malaysia, and I wish a professionally rewarding future to the entire ASOSAI fraternity.
Thank you very much.
Wabillahitaufik Walhidayah Wassalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.