Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has described the RM100 million graft case in the Youth and Sports Ministry as disappointing and vowed tough action against those responsible.
"I view seriously the misappropriation case involving a senior government officer at the Youth and Sports Ministry which is being investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
"This case is disappointing as it happened for a number of years without detection," he said in a blog posting today.
Najib said those involved would be held to account.
"The government would never compromise on cases where government funds are misappropriated and stern action would be taken against those involved," he added.
The prime minister said all ministries and government agencies should always oversee their spending with the highest level of transparency and accountability.
In the Youth and Sports Ministry's case, Najib said a holistic investigation must be carried out and be immediately referred to the attorney-general for advice and legal action.
"The Auditor-General's Office would also study and make more stringent procedures on the management of government finances," he added.
Najib also instructed the case to be listed on the Auditor-General's dashboard at https://agdashboard.audit.gov.my which allows the public to monitor the government's follow up actions on the matter.
Last Saturday, MACC said it crippled a syndicate which abused up to RM100 million in public funds.
The MACC said the modus operandi is to order the ministry's finance department to pay no fewer than 14 companies operated by the syndicate members for non-existent works.
He said the ministry's senior division secretary, who received an estimated RM20 million in kickbacks, played a key role in ensuring the money was paid promptly.
Following the revelation, there have been calls for Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin to take responsibility.
Yesterday, Khairy took to Twitter to respond to queries how such a huge sum of money could be embezzled without notice.
He explained that the money was misappropriated in small amounts regularly over numerous years.
He also mooted an independent panel to identify weaknesses and to improve finance procedures in his ministry.