Statement on Speaker’s ruling that I retract and apologise unconditionally to the Speaker for my remarks on PAC investigation into 1MDB

I rise as the Speaker has sent word that “at the next opportune time” for me to come to Parliament, I must unconditionally apologise to him and retract what I said in Parliament on Monday, 19th October.

The country has been under unprecedented haze for weeks, closing schools, disrupting the economy and causing havoc to the livelihood of the people.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said yesterday that Malaysia is enshrouded in a “political haze”, referring to the multiple crisis of confidence concerning the economy, politics, governance and nation building.

Now we have a parliamentary haze enveloping Members of Parliament.

I waited for the Hansard of yesterday’s proceeding which was uploaded at about noon today.

According to Hansard, the Speaker alleged that I had said:

“You don’t have any power. You abuse your power. You deliberately stop the Public Accounts Committee. You sabotaged the investigating.” (p 28, line 15/16).

The Speaker repeated this when responding to MP for PJ Utara Tony Pua, where he said: “Yang Berhormat Gelang Patah telah mengatakan bahawa, “I deliberately abused my power. I sabotaged the investigation.” Itu bermakna menghina kedudukan Speaker.” (p. 35 line 26/27)

Firstly, I never used the word “deliberately”. Secondly, I did not speak in such a peremptory fashion as if I was reprimanding the Speaker.

What I said when I sought clarification from the MP for Sepang, Mohamed Hanipa bin Maidin who was speaking on the debate on the appointment of the Chairman of Public Accounts Committee was whether he agreed that the Speaker has no powers under the Standing Orders to stop the Public Accounts Committee, in the absence of a PAC Chairman, from continuing with its 1MDB investigations and which was therefore an abuse of power.

I said: “Adakah Yang Berhormat Sepang bersetuju ini satu salah guna kuasa yang Tuan Yang di Pertua tidak patut berlaku dan ini merupakan satu sabotaj penyiasatan 1MDB, satu skandal besar antarabangsa.”

Yesterday, the Speaker had given reasons to support his interpretation.

He referred to SO 82(1) which states: “(1) Every Select Committee shall be so far as is practicable, the balance between the parties within the House is reflected in the Committee”.

In this case, this provision has been made “impracticable” because of the decision of the Prime Minister to appoint the PAC chairman, Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamad as Deputy Home Minister, when the PAC was in the midst of very critical investigations into the mother of all scandals, the 1MDB scandal, an appointment which was clearly made to stop the PAC from proceeding with its 1MDB investigations.

If the Prime Minister had no intention to stall PAC investigations into 1MDB scandal, he has two options: to agree and give full support to the continuation of the PAC investigations into 1MDB under the chairmanship of the PAC Deputy Chairman, MP for Kepong Dr. Tan Seng Giaw as the PAC continues to have a quorum despite the elevation of the PAC Chairman and three other BN members to the Executive; or convene an emergency meeting of Parliament to fill the PAC vacancies in view of both the importance and urgency of the investigations.

This will also ensure that the elevation of the PAC Chairman and three BN members to be Minister or Deputy Ministers are not part of a larger game-plan to stall 1MDB investigations involving the sacking of the MP for Pagoh as Deputy Prime Minister, the MP for Semporna as Minister for Rural and Regional Development, Tan Sri Gani Patail as Attorney General, the dissolution of the multi-agency Special Task Force on the two mega-scandals of 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion “donation” in Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s personal banking accounts in March 2013; and the various moves undermining the integrity, independence and professionalism of key national institutions including the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, Bank Negara, the Police and the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

It is Prime Minister who has rendered it not practical for the PAC to function as intended by Standing Order 82(1), that “Every Select Committee shall be so far as is practicable, the balance between the parties within the House is reflected in the Constitution”, although it was within the means of the Prime Minister to convene a special meeting of Parliament to fill these vacancies, and it is not for the Speaker to cure a problem created by the Prime Minister – bearing in mind that the Speaker must also be conscious of the need to have a PAC which has the respect of the nation as a body which is conscientious in its responsibility to uphold the integrity of government finances, as in its investigations into the 1MDB scandal.

I do not agree that Standing Orders 77, 82(1) and 82(2) confer on the Speaker the powers to stop the PAC under the PAC Deputy Chairman, Dr. Tan Seng Giaw, and the remaining PAC members from continuing its 1MDB investigations, and the effect of the Speaker’s ruling to stop the PAC from continuing with its 1MDB investigations is to sabotage its investigations.

I have the fullest respect for the Speaker and I make no malicious allegation that he “deliberately” abused his powers or that he “deliberately” sabotaged the PAC’s 1MDB investigations, but stating the effect of his decision to stop PAC from continuing its 1MDB investigations until the various vacancies are filled when Parliament meets some three months later.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah