Auditor-General's Report: NCER not yet a world class economic zone

Auditor-General's Report: NCER not yet a world class economic zone
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GEORGE TOWN (Aug 3): Projects and programmes under the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) have not met their objectives, and the special economic zone cannot be considered world class or a preferred destination for investments, jobs, and lifestyle until 2025.

The Auditor-General’s Report (LKAN) 2021 Series 1 said the management of projects and programmes under NCER lacked efficiency, especially in the management of financials, land, acquisitions, and the meeting of specifications and quality.

“Apart from that, the incomplete data collection on investments and job opportunities complicated the monitoring and application of prescribed standards, guidelines, best practices, processes and administrative procedures in the development of NCER,” the report said.

LKAN also recommended that the Northern Corridor Implementation Authority (NCIA) ensure the comprehensive documentation of the NCER Blueprint so that objectives are met, especially in the areas of strategic planning and the meeting of project deadlines.

The Auditor-General also called on the NCIA to ensure close financial monitoring and management of the projects and programmes so that expenses and allocations can be better monitored.

An allocation of RM5.067 billion up to Dec 31, 2021 was approved under the 11th Malaysia Plan (RMK11) for the implementation of 40 projects, programmes, and studies under the NCER.

The report found that 11 projects were not completed on time, with 27 time extensions given for between 28 and 818 days.

It also noted that up to Dec 31, 2021, the NCER had gone over the budget between the period of RMK10 and RMK11, incurring spending of RM898.6 million from an allocation of RM820.02 million.

“However, auditors were not able to confirm the allocation and spending involved as detailed information that was presented was not consistent and some documents pertaining to the spending have not been submitted,” the report said.