Performance audit has a long story in many countries to oversee the programme or activity carried out by the public agencies to manage the resource in an efficient and economical manner and the programme are carried out effectively and managed to give a positive impact to the target group. In Malaysia, performance audit has started way back since the 1990’s but the approach at that time whereby certain criteria and aspects are not complicated as compared to this day. Performance audit from time to time are also affected by the government policy and the development of the ICT. Those days, not many activities or programmes involve a huge sum of money spent and very few development projects are carried out throughout the country. Performance audit are also sometimes called value for money or VFM. In the National Audit Department (NAD), VFM is defined as how much RM1 spent by the public sector gives the best value for money in terms of quality on goods and supply rendered to the government agencies. After the independence of Malaysia, the nature of audits still revolves around the certification of financial statements and compliance on rules and regulations. With the introduction of Programme and Performance Budgeting where the estimated budget was based on activities and projects performance budgeting approached in 1968. Consequently, the auditing approach has also been affected and the need for the change of the audit approach not only concentrate on certification of financial statement and compliance audit but also cover a new approach adopted by the Auditor General’s (AG) Office.
The Performance Audit was introduced for the first time in history of Malaysia. To be in line with the government policy, the AG Office has amended the Audit Act successfully in 1978. With the introduction of three elements in the Audit Act such as extravagances, wastefulness and fraud, the audit approach has changed the mind and the way how the auditors think extremely. Now, the auditor in the NAD must be equipped with the new approach and tools to conduct the performance audit. What the NAD is concerned with is how an auditor is going to do the performance audit with the new approach besides the financial and compliance auditing that needs to be fulfilled? NAD has taken several reforms in managing the new challenges. Among the reforms was the Transformation of the NAD in 2016 with the set up of three major sectors which specialised on Financial, Performance and Governance.