The announcement by the new Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Datuk Hassan Arifin yesterday that the PAC will meet for the first time on Monday after a three-month interregnum is welcome, although parliamentary and public expectations of the PAC would not be as high as previously.
If I am taking part in the 2016 Budget debate, I would urge the PAC to do two things when it meets on Monday:
Firstly, for the PAC to set an example to Parliament with every PAC member declaring whether he or she has any pecuniary interest in the twin mega-scandals of RM50 billion 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” in Prime Minister Najib Razak’s personal banking accounts for the 13th General Election, and those who have pecuniary interest in these two mega scandals should excuse themselves from participating in any PAC hearings on them.
Dewan Rakyat Standing Order 35(6) stipulates that “A Member shall not speak on any matter in which he has a direct personal pecuniary interest (other than the matter of remuneration under any provision of the Constitution) without disclosing the extent of that interest.”
If it is a breach of Parliamentary Standing Orders for an MP to speak on any matter without disclosing the extent of his or her pecuniary interest on the subject, it is all the more a violation of parliamentary privilege for a PAC member to be involved in any investigation into the twin mega scandals of RM50 billion 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” for the 13th General Election if he or she has any pecuniary interest in the two financial scandals.
Former Minister and Barisan Nasional Backbenchers’ Club (BNBBC) Chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Samad had admitted that he was one of the beneficiaries and receipients from Najib’s personal banking accounts with the RM2.6 billion “donation”.
Why are the other UMNO/BN Ministers and MPs keeping their silence as to whether they have any pecuniary interest in these two subject-matters?
They should emulate Shahrir’s example and declare if they had been beneficiaries of Najib’s RM2.6 billion personal banking accounts, and it is for this reason I had asked the Minister for Prime Minister Department in charge of parliamentary affairs, Datuk Azalina Othman Said, whether she has any pecuniary interest in the RM2.6 billion “donation” scandal as she had moved the motion to suspend me from Parliament for six months for questioning the Speaker for abusing his powers in stopping the PAC from continuing with its 1MDB investigations for three months.
Secondly, the PAC should resolve on Monday to summon former Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail and the former Special Branch deputy director Datuk Abdul Hamid Bador to testfy to establish whether there was a draft corruption charge sheet against Prime Minister Najib related to 1MDB.
The question whether there was a draft corruption charge sheet against Prime Minister Najib related to 1MDB returned to the public domain as a result of a statement by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) last Thursday
The MACC statement, which had said that it was not investigating 1MDB as it was a police matter, stressed that it never denied the authenticity of a flow diagram published by Malaysiakini on the money trail involving SRC International or that it had denied the authenticity of a draft charge sheet against the Prime Minister.
The question that jumps out of the MACC statement is whether there was a draft charge sheet in the Attorney-General’s Chambers against the Prime Minister related to corruption before Tan Sri Gani Patail was sacked as Attorney-General on July 27?
In denying SRC International’s claim, the MACC statement of Oct. 22 by the MACC director of investigations Azam Baki said:
“The MACC denies SRC International’s claim.
“This is untrue because our Aug 3 statement did not make any reference to the draft charge sheet or the fund flows diagram, as claimed by SRC International.
“We would like to remind SRC International or any others to never ever implicate MACC in their press statement because this will cause confusion.”
The question whether there is a draft corruption charge against Najib in connection with the 1MDB scandal in the Attorney-General’s Chambers, and whether this was the real reason for the sacking of Gani Patail as Attorney-General, is an important issue which the Public Accounts Committee must establish if its 1MDB investigations is going to command credibility, not only in Malaysia but also in international circles.
I had mentioned Datuk Abdul Hamid Bador because the former Special Branch deputy director had revealed that Gani Patail had consulted the police intelligence unit on various matters that impacted national security.
Admitting that he and Gani had met at the latter’s house two days before the Attorney-General was removed from his post, Hamid questioned if that was the reason for his transfer out of the Special Branch and into “cold storage” at a new security unit in the Prime Minister’s Department.
The PAC should get to the bottom of these conundrums and report to Parliament in its investigations into the 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” scandals.
Hamid Bador had told The Malaysian Insider that he was insulted with how his transfer was handled.
“I feel insulted to the lowest level… as if I am not entitled to wear the police badge. It makes me wonder if it has anything to do with me being at Tan Sri Gani Patail’s house or solely because I have been constantly criticising the direction and the slow progress in the 1MDB investigation.”
Hamid was transferred out of the Special Branch mid-August to a new transnational crime division reporting directly to the prime minister.