PAC Stalemate

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One of Nurul Izzah Anwar’s biggest frustrations as an MP is Pakatan Harapan’s inability to fulfil its election manifesto pledge regarding the appointment of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman.

Yusof Mat Isa

“This is perhaps the first time in history that not only we have the top, but the number two of the PAC coming from the government of the day,” she said.

Pakatan’s election manifesto previously stated that the PAC should be chaired by an Opposition MP.

PKR president Anwar Ibrahim also said that it is clear in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) manifesto the chairman of the bipartisan panel must be from the Opposition.

“The PH manifesto is clear. We must find a solution to solve this issue amicably.

“We will have to discuss this issue with the component (party) MPs, Opposition and Parliament.

“If we can solve it in a week then we should do it. This is not a big issue,” he said today.

Putrajaya’s failure to replace PAC chairman Ronald Kiandee led to three Opposition lawmakers in the PAC resigning yesterday.

Bernama

Kiandee, was in Umno but recently joined Bersatu of the ruling PH coalition.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad described the resignation of the two Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs and one PAS MP from the PAC as “their own business”.

“It’s alright. If they want to resign, they can do so. It’s their own business,” he told reporters yesterday.

Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob reportedly said that the notice of the resignation of the BN and PAS members of the PAC will be sent in immediately.

The three members to quit the PAC are Umno’s Datuk Seri Ahmad Hamzah and Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad, and PAS’ Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan.

Ahmad is the MP for Jasin, Noraini is Parit Sulong MP and Takiyuddin is Kota Baru MP.

“We will not remain in the PAC until the government gives the chairman position to the Opposition,” Ismail told a press conference at the Parliament lobby on Monday (March 25).

There are 12 PAC members, of which eight are from PH, two from BN, and one each from PAS and Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PPBB).

“If this is allowed to continue, where the chairman and deputy chairman are both from Pakatan, this means that more PAC members are from Pakatan. 

“This also means that Pakatan has full powers in the PAC. The whole point of appointing a chairman from the Opposition is so that there is a more effective check and balance,” Ismail said.

On Sunday (March 24), Dr Mahathir said PH would keep to its promise and that Kiandee would remain PAC chairman until a suitable candidate is found.

He also said PH’s promise for the PAC to be headed by the Opposition is “only policy, and not institutionalised or part of the constitution”.

Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izah Anwar had earlier resigned from the PAC, in protest of the government’s move to take over the PAC chair.

Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng claimed most government backbenchers agree that the PAC chairperson should be replaced with a lawmaker from the Opposition.

“It is clear that most government backbenchers want to replace the PAC chairperson with a member of Parliament from the Opposition. 

“With all due respect, Beluran (Kiandee) is an old friend but this is a matter of principle,” Lim said in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

“We must fulfil (the manifesto promise). There are no two ways about it,” he said.

Lim then called on Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker Mohd Rashid Hasnon to make a ruling on the issue.

Mohd Rashid merely said the matter has been noted and would be discussed by the selection committee.

Meanwhile, Parliament will allow the PAC to conclude ongoing proceedings before selecting a new chairman, said Deputy Speaker Nga Kor Ming.

Nga said they did not want to disrupt the PAC headed by PPBM’s Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee until it fully disposes of all matters before it.

“We will look for a suitable time because these cases are being heard and there needs to be a conclusion. 

“So it depends on when the cases will be solved,” he told reporters yesterday.

The committee is holding hearings on the Vehicle Entry Permit system between Johor and Singapore, and has summoned former transport minister Liow Tiong Lai.

It is also investigating claims by the Finance Ministry on RM19.4 billion in “missing” funds meant for goods and services tax credit returns.

The PAC recently completed its hearing on nearly a dozen marina projects, worth RM323.5 million, and will issue a report soon.


Earlier report: Mar 22, Nurul Izzah Resigns PAC Post