VIEWPOINT: Will the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman Hasan Arifin apologise for his several breaches of parliamentary privileges in connection with the PAC Report on 1MDB and make amends by tabling in Parliament the Auditor-General’s Report on 1MDB as he had promised on March 7?
On March 7, Hasan gave a categorical statement that the Auditor-General’s final report on 1MDB investigations would be “declassified” under the Official Secrets Act 1972 once the PAC tables its report to Parliament.
The PAC Report on 1MDB was tabled in Parliament on April 7, and there are no signs that the AG’s final report on the 1MDB will be tabled in Parliament, which will adjourn on Thursday this week.
Hasan had said at the time that Auditor-General Ambrin Buang had explained that the AG’s final report on 1MDB will no longer be a classified document under OSA once PAC tables its 1MDB report.
Can Hasan explain why he is dragging his feet in tabling the final report on 1MDB as attachment to the PAC Report on 1MDB?
What have Hasan and Prime Minister Najib Razak and his government to hide in refusing to make public the AG’s final report on 1MDB?
An important principle of parliamentary democracy is involved here. As PAC is a committee of Parliament, any document or information provided to PAC must be regarded as being provided to Parliament and must be finally submitted to Parliament, and no witness or agency should be allowed to make the utterly spurious and unacceptable claim that its information provided to the PAC is only for the “intelligence” of PAC but not to be extended to Parliament.
I am surprised that the Parliament Speaker Amin Mulia is not upholding this important parliamentary principle, but instead is supporting the spurious argument that Official Secrets Act could be used as a justification not to extend information by PAC to Parliament.
As an important principle in the doctrine of separation of powers is involved, the Speaker should be upholding and defending the powers of the Legislature against encroachments by the Executive, and it is most regrettable that the Speaker is not upholding the powers and rights of Parliament but acting as a mere civil servant of the Najib administration!
Where in the Parliamentary Standing Orders gives the PAC powers, as a committee of Parliament, to receive information which is denied to Parliament – arrogating to itself powers PAC does not have.
Where in the Parliamentary Standing Orders allows the PAC chairman to unilaterally and arbitrarily tamper with a PAC Report which had been finalised by the PAC?
Where in the Parliamentary Standing Orders confers on the PAC chairman powers to receive correspondence or information which is denied to other members of the PAC, as in the case of the so-called Bank Negara letter to the PAC chairman about Good Star Limited (GSL), the mysterious company implicated in the “original sin” of the 1MDB global scandal?
Who was in charge of the PAC Secretariat which allegedly fed the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Azalina Othman with wrong information causing her to lie in Parliament when she replied to the DAP MP for Bagan Lim Guan Eng last Monday that PAC members were informed about the deleted lines from the PAC Report on 1MDB because of correspondence from Bank Negara on April 6 that its information was “confidential for the purpose of intelligence only and not for court usage or public report”?
Finally, as the PAC Report on the 1MDB had only dealt with the “tip of the iceberg” of the 1MDB global financial scandal, leaving many leading and important questions unanswered, is Hasan as the PAC chairman prepared to re-open PAC investigations into the 1MDB scandal to get to the bottom of the nation’s first global financial scandal, or will he resign as PAC chairman so that PAC could re-open investigations into the 1MDB scandal without any impediment or obstacle whatsoever?
Lim Kit Siang is the MP for Gelang Patah.