Media statement by Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, 24th January 2012:
Azmi Khalid should resign as PAC Chairman and not be an obstacle to an immediate and urgent PAC investigation into the RM300 million NFC scandal so as to table report to Parliament on March 12
Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid should resign as Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman and not be an obstacle to an immediate and urgent PAC investigation into the RM300 million National Feedlot Centre (NFC) scandal so as to be able to table a report of its findings and recommendations to Parliament when it reconvenes on March 12.
It will be a gross remiss of its responsibility if the PAC is empty-handed when Parliament reconvenes on March 12 when the “cattle condo” scandal is undoubtedly the No. 1 scandal of the country for the past three months since the delayed tabling of the Auditor-General Report 2010 last October.
I had occasion to criticise the “tardiness” of the PAC to plunge into full-scale investigation into the NFC scandal and Azmi has responded saying that he prefers the PAC to wait for the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to complete their investigations of suspected corruption in the NFC scandal before deciding if it should continue with its own probe.
The decision that the PAC refrain or suspend investigation into the Auditor-General’s exposes of the NFC scandal is only the personal inclination of Azmi and cannot be the collective decision of the PAC, as the PAC has not met after the start of the police and MACC investigations into the NFC.
Azmi should not impose his personal preference on the PAC when national interests demand that the PAC performs its duty to conduct an urgent and immediate investigation into the NFC scandal.
I have expressed my reservations about the propriety of Azmi heading any PAC probe into the NFC scandal because there could be a conflict-of-interest as Azmi was a member of the Cabinet when government approval was given for the scandal-ridden NFC project before the March 2008 general election.
Among the issues to be probed by PAC are the involvement of various Cabinet Ministers in the approval of the NFC project, referring to all Cabinet Ministers in general but also specifically to Tun Abdullah, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as the respective Prime Minister, Chairman of Cabinet Committee on High Impact Projects and the Minister for Agriculture and Agro-based Industries at the time.
The last thing Azmi should do is to be responsible for the PAC playing “truant” from performing its parliamentary and national duty to conduct immediate and urgent probe into the NFC scandal and to submit its report to Parliament when it reconvenes on March 12.
The role of the PAC has gain new pertinence and relevance following the improper pressures and arm-twisting by Perkasa and the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) that the Auditor-General issue a statement to clarify and exonerate the NFCorp from being embroiled in the scandal. The NF Corp is run by the family of Minister for Women, Family and Community Development Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.
As the very credibility of the Auditor-General 2010 Report about the RM300 million NFC scandal is being impugned, the PAC is duty-bound to convene in the next few days whether it should continue to “play truant” by ducking full investigations into the NFC scandal or whether it should rise to its duty to work over-time to conduct immediate and urgent investigations into the NFC scandal as to be able to report to Parliament on March 12.
Will Azmi convene an emergency PAC in the next few days to make this crucial decision?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor