NGOs OR ‘SECRET’ SOCIETIES? AILING AAM TRIGGERS CONTROVERSY

LIKE many sports and voluntary organisations, the problems facing the Automobile Association of Malaysia (AAM) should be the concern of its members who decide on how it should be managed.

Once they receive government funds, they have to be accountable for its conduct – financial or otherwise – to the people.

The AAM falls into this category and it cannot escape or be excused from public scrutiny.

Falling from the pedestal with assets and turnover running into millions to an organisation which is unable to pay salaries of the staff is puzzling indeed.

In the past, theSun had extensively reported cases of abuse in such “voluntary” organisations, but little has been done to investigate and bring the wrongdoers to book.

How and why it happened has been reported but who is the guardian who is supposed to safeguard members’ interests and public funds?

In this instance, it is the Sports Commissioner and in other cases, the Registrar of Societies.

But in the absence of a written Code of Conduct of elected or appointed officials, shouldn’t they be adopting that all-compassing requirement – act as ordinary men of business?

The failings uncovered at the AAM by theSun are not unique or isolated.

The absence of whistleblowers and principled officials has led to this malaise.

The grapevine has a long list of tales, but those in the know of any abuse or misuse of power or funds must step forward.

At a time when non-government organisations (NGOs) are sprouting up and when it has become fashionable to be part of them, accountability of public funds has become necessary.

Officials pay themselves handsome “allowances” and other perks; overseas trips on first class are the norm; and per diem allowances sometimes run into the hundreds.

Such details are not known about these “do-gooders”.

Last year, theSun sent letters to 20 selected NGOs asking them if they would open their books.

One provided their annual report and accounts.

Two initially responded positively but never provided any information.

Checks on websites of some provided annual reports but not the accounts.

Need more be said?

– Sundaily

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