Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Wasting Taxpayers Money - The American Way

I don't know if the US had taken a play out of the ol' Malaysian playbook, but when I read this, I can't help but stifle a chuckle as I reminisce about how rampant such occurrences are in Malaysia:
The chief of the General Services Administration resigned, two of her top deputies were fired and four managers were placed on leave Monday amid reports of lavish spending at a conference off the Las Vegas Strip that featured a clown, a mind reader and a $31,208 reception. 
Administrator Martha N. Johnson, in her resignation letter, acknowledged a “significant misstep” at the agency that manages real estate for the federal government. “Taxpayer dollars were squandered,” she wrote. At the start of her tenure in February 2010 she called ethics “a big issue for me.” 
The leadership collapse came hours before GSA Inspector General Brian D. Miller released a scathing report on the $823,000 training conference, held for 300 West Coast employees at the M Resort and Casino, an opulent hotel in Henderson, Nev., just south of Las Vegas. From $130,000 in travel expenses for six scouting trips to a $2,000 party in Peck’s loft suite, event planners violated federal limits on conference spending.
And in Malaysia, we have submarines that do not submerge, RM42,000 laptops and what not. The trouble with this is that, in Malaysia, no one ever gets fired. As I have proposed before, the easiest way to go about this is to fire the person whose signature is on the check. It is his job to check that all the payments are legitimate before it is paid out. If the check has Najib's signature, then it is even more worrying. He should immediately step down for failing the Malaysian people.

This is exactly what happens in the US. Accountability is key and it has to begin from the top. The people in high places with authority need to step up and take responsibility. It is useless to deny that there are any problems. As Lim Guan Eng has cleverly put it, if you keep denying any problem exists, then you won't be looking for solutions. It is as simple as that.

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