Three basic flaws of the long-awaited Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on 1MDB
Two important events happened this morning which would have far-reaching consequences on the development of democratic governance in Malaysia.
The first was the unprecedented march by scores of Members of Parliament from Parliament House to Bukit Aman to protest the Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar’s utter contempt of Parliament in the police arrest of PKR Secretary-General and MP for Pandan Rafizi Ramli despite a long-standing parliamentary motion instructing the Inspector-General of Police to take all necessary measures to ensure that there is no obstruction to MPs travelling to and fro parliamentary meetings.
The second item was the tabling of the long-awaited Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on 1MDB.
I have not read the PAC report but clearly the PAC report is guilty of major failings even without having to refer to it.
There are at least three basic flaws in the PAC report on 1MDB.
Firstly, the PAC Report on 1MDB does not append the Auditor-General’s Interim Report on 1MDB submitted to the PAC in June last year.
Secondly, the PAC Report on 1MDB does not append the Auditor-General’s 300-page final audit report on the 1MDB submitted to the PAC last month.
The PAC is a committee of Parliament which is delegated the responsibility to scrutinise the value for money – the economy, efficiency and effectiveness – of public spending and holds the government and civil servants to account for the delivery of public services and submit reports to Parliament.
The PAC does not exist on its own right and every document or report presented to the PAC is meant for final presentation to Parliament in the PAC report.
How can Hasan, as PAC Chairman, be responsible for the gross dereliction of duty of PAC in failing to append the Auditor-General’s two reports (Interim Report and Final Audit Report) to Parliament when presenting the PAC report on 1MDB?
In the recent controversy over whether the Auditor-General’s final audit report on 1MDB presented to the PAC last month was a classified document under the Official Secrets Act (OSA), the PAC Chairman Datuk Hasan Arifin is on public record as declaring that the Auditor-General’s final audit report will no longer be a classified document under the OSA when the PAC tables its report in Parliament - which was 10 am in Dewan Rakyat this morning.
Why have PAC Chairman omitted the Auditor-General’s final audit report in the PAC report on 1MDB and why are there attempts to argue that the Auditor-General’s final audit report is still a classified document which is covered by the OSA?
The net effect of such turn-and-twists to continue to bar the Auditor-General’s final audit report from general publication can only increase public suspicion that the powers-that-be have a lot of things to hide on 1MDB, which will only further undermine the Najib government’s very low-level credibility and trustworthiness.
PKR MP Rafizi has been arrested for allegedly making a disclosure from the Auditor-General’s final audit report to the PAC.
Going by what PAC Chairman had said publicly, that the Auditor-General’s final audit report would cease to be a classified document under the OSA, this would mean that what Rafizi is alleged to have disclosed from the Auditor-General’s final audit report is now no more “classified” official secret.
This would mean that Rafizi would at most be guilty of a technical offence under the OSA for revealing what is in the Auditor-General’s final audit report a few days before it was declassified with the tabling of the PAC report on 1MDB today – which means that Rafizi was never involved in any major security crime which could bring about enormous and irreparable harm to the country as to justify the arbitrary police arrest of Rafizi as actually happened, as if Rafizi is as dangerous as a Islamic State terrorist!
The third major flaw of the tabling of the PAC report on 1MDB in Parliament today is the disappearance of the PAC Chairman, Datuk Hasan Arifin.
A text message from the PAC Secretariat to PAC members yesterday gave notification that the PAC Chairman would not be holding a press conference today after the tabling of the PAC report on 1MDB, as Hasan is ill and would only answer media questions on the PAC report on 1MDB in the next Dewan Rakyat meeting.
What sickness is Hasan suffering from that he anticipated such a long illness?
I wish Hasan swift and full recovery, but PAC has a deputy chairman, the MP for Kepong Dr. Tan Seng Giaw, who should be able to stand in Hasan’s stead to conduct a media conference on the tabling of the PAC report on 1MDB.
Is Hasan implying that he has absolutely no confidence in his No. 2 in the PAC?
The PAC Report on 1MDB is undoubtedly the most important one in the history of PAC in Malaysia in the past 47 years, attracting not only national but also international attention and interest.
The PAC should feel proud of its report which is regarded of such national and international attention, but the PAC seems to be very uncomfortable about the PAC report to the extent that a media conference on the PAC Report on 1MDB has been put off for over a month.
Something is really very wrong about the 1MDB and the PAC report on the 1MDB.