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PAC should submit a report to Parliament on its special meeting yesterday as MPs are rightly concerned about the “disarray” in the PAC where the leadership of Shahrir as PAC Chairman was challenged
Samy Vellu did not attend but sent a letter instead.
The Sun reported that the PAC meeting yesterday, despite the absence of Samy Vellu, was ‘“a heated one”, while New Straits Times (NST) reported that “a heated exchange erupted … between a few members and Shahrir” immediately after the PAC meeting, with the MIC MP on the PAC, Tan Sri K. S. Nijhar (Subang) telling Shahrir to resign as PAC Chairman.
The New Straits Times report offered some glimpses of the “heated exchange” in the PAC meeting, as follows:
“The meeting grew
heated with several members questioning Shahrir’s power as PAC chairman,
including his controversial letter asking the Works Minister to attend its
The NST report also referred to the challenge of Shahrir’s position as PAC Chairman, viz:
“Shahrir did allude to this attack on his leadership at his Press conference yesterday and said there were committee members who wanted an opinion from the Attorney- General and did state that the idea was overruled as the Auditor-General did not report to Parliament but the Cabinet.”
Shahrir was appointed PAC Chairman by Parliament. Similarly, Nijhar and other PAC members were appointed by Parliament to constitute the important parliamentary committee to monitor the integrity of government accounts and expenditures.
When there is disarray in the :PAC, to the extent that a PAC member has lost confidence in the PAC Chairman as to publicly demand his resignation, Parliament as a whole must take note of the development, as it could only undermine the mandate which had been trusted to the PAC to monitor the integrity of government accounts and expenditures effectively and efficiently.
There can be no doubt that PAC is fully empowered by Dewan Rakyat Standing Order 77(1)(d) to monitor on-going government expenditures, such as the cancellation of the crooked half-bridge and the ensuing compensation issues, just like the PAC investigations into MATRADE and MRR2 previously.
It was reported that although repeatedly asked by the press yesterday to disclose the contents of Samy Vellu’s letter to :PAC, Shahrir refused on the ground that “it was personal in nature”.
Shahrir cannot be more wrong, as there can be nothing “personal’ in an official communication from a Minister to the PAC on an ongoing investigation.
I do not think Samy Vellu would object to his letter being made public. If so, Shahrir risks public suspicion that he has something to hide.
This is why PAC should submit a report to Parliament on its special meeting yesterday as MPs are rightly concerned about the “disarray” in the PAC where the leadership of Shahrir as PAC Chairman had been challenged, as the country wants a more effective PAC rather than a lame-footed PAC stymied not only by Cabinet Ministers but even by PAC members themselves.
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman