Journal of Politics and Law
Accountability from the Perspective of Malaysian Governance
Ahmad Faiz Yaakob Faculty of Administrative Science and Policy Studies Universiti Teknologi MARA Terengganu, 23000 Dungun, Terengganu Tel: 60-12-222-7659 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nadhrah A. Kadir Faculty of Administrative Science and Policy Studies Universiti Teknologi MARA Terengganu, 23000 Dungun, Terengganu Tel: 60-12-250-4302 E-mail: email@example.com
Kamaruzaman Jusoff (Corresponding author) TropAIR, Faculty of Forestry, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang 43400, Selangor, Malaysia Tel: 60-3-8946-7176 Abstract Generally, accountability is often associated with a concept of answerability, responsibility, blameworthiness, liability etc. Commonly, the concept of accountability from the perspective of governance is the means to control the public administration in democratic countries. The classification of public accountability is normally seen in terms of external and internal mechanisms. Hence, this paper shall discuss both mechanisms with special reference to Malaysia. The discussion also focuses on the limitation of each mechanism which rendered some problems to the concept of accountability in Malaysia. Keywords: Accountability, Governance, Public administration, 1. Introduction Accountability is often associated with such concepts as answerability, responsibility, blameworthiness, liability and other terms associated with the expectation of accounting (Note 1). An individual who is accountable will be on his own commit to do or implement something if he feels that an occurrence or the result of the occurrence is important. It also involves effective reporting or program impact done to see the results and changes experienced from the aspect of knowledge and behaviour. In politics, especially in the representative democratic system, accountability is a crucial factor in determining good governance, and hence the legitimacy of power. The election of state representatives requires a responsible attitude to the public (Abd Aziz, 2003:68) (Note 2). Therefore, every action that has been taken needs to be explained to the public or the local community. According to Tantuico (1994), the ex-Chairman of the Philippines Audit Commission, accountability is the foundation to integrity and is the actual portrayal of the ruling government regardless of the form of ruling system which is used. The Malaysian Constitution also speaks, directly and indirectly, on the accountability especially when it involves public property. Auditing is a form of ‘check and balance’ process which is important to determine whether a monetary transaction of an institution is running well (Abdullah 2004). The Constitution and the National Audit Act provide certain powers to increase the level of auditing and further on the level of accountability especially in public sector. This can be seen in Article 106 and 107 from the Constitution which explains the role and responsibility of the OAG to audit the budget and expenditure at all governmental levels. The development of the audit system in Malaysia depends primarily on the changes and the administrative pattern and national politics (Kulasingham: 1). A seminar paper titled “Role of Supreme Audit Institutions in National Development” sees the national development at four stages, namely, (a) maintenance phase - the government gives importance to legal matters and procedures apart from basic services. Emphasis is more on regulatory and compliance, (b) mobilization phase - efforts and the governmental budget is directed towards the utilization of resources by preparing incentives for the infrastructure incentives and industrial base, (c) guidance phase - industrialization and privatization in development. Budget is focused on cost and program effectiveness, and (d) co-ordination phase economy has reached the mature level and is focused on welfare matters towards the community. Concern...