Principle that the Chairman of PAC be an Opposition Member should be subject to the proviso that no PAC Chairman should sit and examine government accounts for years where he or she was a government MP and not an Opposition MP
The principle that the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament should be an Opposition Member should be subject to the proviso that no PAC Chairman should sit and examine government account for years where he or she was a government MP and not an Opposition MP.
Parliamentary Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has asked Ronald Kiandee to resign as Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman as he was appointed at the discretion of the Opposition Leader.
Zahid Hamidi is wrong. The PAC Chairman is not appointed at the discretion of the Opposition Leader, but by Parliament by way of a motion.
The Pakatan Harapan Government has accepted the convention that the Chairman of the PAC come from the Opposition, which means on the recommendation of the Parliamentary Opposition Leader, but the final decision lies with Parliament and not with the Opposition Leader.
Zahid Hamidi should realise that he does not appoint the PAC Chairman, but he recommends to Parliament on the nominee for the PAC Chairman.
After all, the principle that the PAC Chairman comes from the Opposition is one of the parliamentary reforms introduced by the Pakatan Harapan Government, as the UMNO/Barisan Nasional which had been the Federal Government for over six decades had never accepted this principle, and never in the 13 Parliaments before May 9, 2018 had Opposition MP be allowed to chair the PAC.
Zahid should know this as he was Deputy Prime Minister of the UMNO/BN Government that was evicted from Putrajaya on May 9, 2018.
There is however a necessity to qualify this principle to ensure that no PAC Chairman should sit and examine government accounts for years where he or she was a government MP and not an Opposition MP.
For instance, the latest set of Auditor-General’s Accounts are with regard to Federal Government Accounts for the year 2017, in other words, belonging to the period when UMNO/BN was in government.
It would be rather invidious for an UMNO/BN MP at that time now to sit as Chairman of PAC to examine accounts of the Federal Government for that period, as we will then have the ridiculous situation of the PAC Chairman sitting in judgment over the accounts of his own government, which the principle that the PAC Chairman should come from the Opposition sought to avoid.
Ronald Kiandee is among the four Sabah UMNO MPs who announced on Wednesday their quitting of UMNO.
If he joins one of the Pakatan Harapan parties, then he is obliged to resign immediately as PAC Chairman as the Pakatan Harapan has introduced the principle that the PAC Chairman must be an Opposition MP.
Until then, I think Ronald Kiandee is in the twilight zone – as he has not yet become a government MP although he has left UMNO.