It is time for the highest-paid Ministry to open up its books so the world may see where our billions have gone.
While multiple Ministries have billion-ringgit scandals, the Ministry of Education consistently receives some of the highest budgets with some of the shockingly terrible quality, easily gobbling nearly RM60 billion annually. What is extraordinarily shocking is that no independent, non-government, and fully public top-down audits have ever been performed against the MOE's billions.
Because the MOE is the final statutory body with government funds, it has the highest liability in both 1) disbursing funds and 2) monitoring contracted agencies under regulations of the Ministry of Finance.
MACC has called the MOE a serious high-risk Ministry for corruption. And we have seen it again and again: the YTL scandal, the Sarawak solar scandal, the COVID-19 “free” laptop delays, the Integrity Department scandal, the Integrity Department scandal part II, the overt politicization, the Sabah canteen contractors’ scandal, the Melaka scholarships scandal, and systemic school corruption in Sabah.
Untold billions are possibly unaccounted, misused, and/or stolen.
MOE + MOHE combined budgets, as available:
The services of an external auditing firm with a reputation of integrity, transparency, and effectiveness should be hired to audit the nearly ⅔ trillion ringgit that has been pumped into the Ministry of Education between 2010 and 2021.
It must be given full subpoena authority and access to all Ministry documents, up to the power of raids. It must be given access to both police and MACC (or, in the future, Public Ombudsman) investigative units. It must be primarily staffed with forensic accountants and Certified Fraud Examiners (CFE) with experience in education, Malaysia’s public service, computer forensics, and preparation for litigation (either civil or criminal).
The target areas should include economic damages (torts, breach of contract), contract fraud, money laundering and asset misappropriation, fabrication / falsifying of records, false suppliers, payroll fraud, data theft or misuse, reimbursement fraud, theft or misuse of services, assets, or privileges, procurement fraud, price fixing, secret tenders when open required, GST refund fraud, embezzlement / larceny, kickbacks, product substitution, shell company schemes, and/or other mechanisms to deceive the nation’s oversight agencies.