Search This Blog

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Our tax money is not a gift

OUR politicians never tire of entertaining us. The latest to do so is Langkawi MP Nawawi Ahmad who told Malaysians that his salary is not paid by the people but is from the Government and that public funds did not belong to the people.

His wisdom on this is that “Once money has passed on to another quarter, it is no longer our money”.

Though entertained, I am not surprised by his strong defence of this definition of “public money”.

Actually, this is not his own idea. Not long ago, in a discussion about government financial grants to certain bodies or organisations, the point about prudence in spending such money, which is public money, came up.

A senior government servant present said the same thing that Nawawi Ahmad said – money given as grants by the Government is not public money, for when people have paid taxes, etc. to the Government, that money becomes the property of the Government.

This officer did not claim this to be his interpretation, but he went on to say that this is what he had learnt when attending management courses carried out by a government civil-servant training institute.

If government servants who are managing money that is not their own are given such ideas in courses organised by a government training institute, then who is to be blamed for what Nawawi Ahmad said, and all the abuses reported in the Auditor-General’s Reports?

If the training institute is correct, why have an Auditor-General to check and report on the spending of “government” money?

Who mooted this theory and for how long has it been preached to government servants managing the funds given to their departments? How did such warped thinking come about and why?

There is a clear distinction between money that is given as a gift without anyone asking for it in any form or for any purpose, and money collected by the Government compulsorily through the various taxes by whatever name they are called.

The Government is penniless and all so-called “government money” is compulsorily obtained from the citizens in numerous ways, e.g. direct and indirect taxes, fees and levies, penalties for a myriad reasons.

As such, the Government is a trustee of all the money it collects from the people and therefore accountable for every penny collected and spent. Hence the need for the auditing of all government funds, and we are only too familiar with the misuses and abuses reported year after year by the Auditor-General.

What has the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to say about “government money” not being the people’s money?

Has the Auditor-General any comments?

What about the Minister of Finance? What is his opinion?

By Ravinder Singh

No comments:

Post a Comment