Free Malaysia Today 11 June 2015

PETALING JAYA: The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) today challenged the government to get serious about public misconduct, and issued a stern rebuke to the Public Service Department (JPA) for its inaction in a matter relating to the procurement of flight tickets for its scholars.
On June 1, local daily The Star published a letter by a JPA scholar who had claimed that his one-way flight ticket home from Poland which had been purchased by JPA appears to have been grossly overpriced at RM15,000.
“Many have brought this issue up with the JPA and their explanation every year, apart from the impersonal reply, is that they will investigate the matter. But after that JPA has remained mum,” he wrote.
Commenting on the letter, Ideas CEO Wan Saiful Wan Jan said, “Paying above market prices seems to be the norm in our government procurement practices.”
“The Auditor General’s Reports in the past have highlighted a number of purchases that are way beyond the normal market price: RM3,810 for a wall clock and RM14,670 for a scanner,” he added.
“And yet, when it comes to selling assets like land that the government sold to 1MDB, prices are way below market price,” said Wan Saiful..
He urged the Auditor General to look into the procurement of ticket prices for JPA scholars in his next audit cycle.
“I really hope that if the report comes out, the cases are not treated as negligence per se,” he said, adding that there should be serious investigation into whether corruption was involved.
“Cases like this should also prompt the government to be serious about regulating public misconduct,” Wan Saiful added.
“If done seriously, cases like this as well as the presently growing crisis of 1MDB would be less likely to take place in the future,” he said.

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