Pushing for accountability, PM Anwar tells govt agency heads ‘stepping down is a viable option’

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

PUTRAJAYA, June 10 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today expressed deep disappointment over persisting malpractices within government agencies, leading to wastage and corruption.

Anwar said there's an urgent need for department heads to shoulder greater responsibility and eradicate the culture of turning a blind eye to misconduct.

He said despite his best efforts and the efforts of the ministers, deputies and others, many are still not practising honest work ethics while the heads of units are unwilling to report any malpractices.

“As government servants, your commitment should revolve around executing your duties with utmost honesty and efficiency, while staunchly rejecting corruption. It's disheartening to witness wastages, leakages, and corrupt practices still prevalent,” he said in his monthly address to staff in the Prime Minister’s Department here.

Despite the relentless efforts of agencies such as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the Attorney General's Chambers (AGC), Anwar highlighted the limitations faced in combating corruption single-handedly.

He underscored the critical role of department heads in upholding integrity within their respective units.

Anwar announced stringent measures, including withholding promotions for department heads complicit in overlooking corruption during performance reviews.

Additionally, he directed enforcement agencies to swiftly act upon concrete evidence of misconduct.

Expressing concern over the lack of whistleblowing despite pervasive malpractices, Anwar urged department heads to demonstrate leadership by reporting any irregularities promptly.

He proposed bolstering anti-corruption efforts by assigning additional officers to relevant agencies.

"We can't solely rely on ministers or deputies to oversee every aspect. Department heads must step up. If the responsibilities prove overwhelming due to entrenched bad practices, stepping down is a viable option," Anwar said.

"I've directed the state secretary to prohibit promotions for department heads who overlook corruption during their performance evaluations. Furthermore, enforcement agencies have been mandated to take swift action against individuals upon acquiring concrete evidence of wrongdoing.

"Additionally, I've put forward a proposal to augment relevant agencies with extra personnel to enhance their anti-corruption endeavours, aiming to effectively curb such misconduct. It's imperative that department heads take proactive measures as we cannot solely depend on ministers or deputies to oversee every aspect.

“Should the responsibilities become overwhelming due to entrenched malpractices, department heads are encouraged to consider stepping down from their positions, allowing others to take charge," he said.

Anwar vowed to expedite decisions on compelling department heads to report misconduct promptly, emphasising the imperative of safeguarding the nation's future.

He said that when the Auditor General's report comes out there will be improvements from prior years as far as governance goes but he said this wasn't enough.

He cautioned that even more drastic measures will be taken to ensure a clean image for the government.