Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) today said it was told the federal government’s financial statements as of December 31, 2019, showed a true and fair picture of the country’s coffers at that point in time.
It was also informed by the auditor-general (A-G) in a closed-door presentation that the accounting records under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration then had been regularly maintained and updated.
“The auditor-general also informed that the 2018 federal government financial statements have been given a Certificate of Opinion Without Reprimand, with some things needing attention (Emphasis of Matter or EOM),” PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh said in a statement.
He added that among the matters flagged was the diversion of RM3.942 billion from the development allocation and the operating allocation in the form of grants for 11 government-owned companies to repay loans.
“Although the use of the money is not in violation of Section 8 of the Loan Act 1972, the auditor-general felt that the matter does not reflect the correct accounting procedures from an audit perspective.
“Therefore, the auditor-general is of the opinion that if the government wants to channel money to government-owned companies to repay loans, it should be recorded as an “advance or a claimable loan,” Wong said.
He added that the A-G had also stressed the need for attention on investment issues related to Kumpulan Wang Amanah Negara (KWAN), due to accounting deficiencies in terms of auditing.
On the status of the federal government’s debt, Wong said this rose to RM793 billion in 2019 from RM741 billion in the previous year, representing 51.2 percent and 52.5 percent as a ratio of the annual gross domestic product, respectively.
“The total federal liability is RM1,080 billion, or equivalent to 71.5 percent of the liability to GDP ratio.
“A total of 59.9 percent or RM82,723 billion of total New Loan Receipts amounting to RM138.559 billion has been used for the principal payment for domestic loans. Only 29.7 percent or RM41.151 billion was used for development expenditure purposes. Such a situation should be fixed,” Wong added.
Meanwhile, former finance minister Lim Guan Eng boasted the success of the PH government in increasing Malaysia’s revenue last year to RM264.415 billion, a day before the Perikatan Nasional (PN) is due to table Budget 2021.
The Bagan MP spoke glowingly about “good governance” under PH, which he said enabled Malaysia to expand its coffers without imposing the controversial goods and services tax (GST).
“This is an example of the success of good governance by the PH government without goods and services tax (GST). Appreciation should be given to civil servants under the Finance Ministry who ensure government results are collected regularly and transparent.
“I hope the PN government will move to focus on controlling the debt level and fiscal deficit of the country, to borrow more money to spend to help Malaysians by saving their jobs, search and business,” he wrote.
The 2019 A-G’s Report will be publicly available tomorrow after 10am.