When Parliament resumes on Monday November 16 after the Deepavali holidays, it will be the last day of three-day Ministerial winding-up of the debate on the 2016 Budget.
Will the Prime Minister cum Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak appear in person to wind up the debate and answer the various pertinent issues raised by Members of Parliament from both sides of the House in the six-day debate by the parliamentary backbenchers or will Najib again play truant from Parliament?
The new Minister for the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Azalina Othman Said has already set the stage for Najib to play truant from Parliament on Nov. 16, when she told the media yesterday that the government would reply on the controversial RM2.6 billion “donation” that went into Najib’s personal bank accounts on the last day of the 25-day budget meeting on Dec. 3, although she could not yet say whether it would be Najib or another Minister who would be nominated to do the answering.
This is the height of contempt of Parliament, treating Parliament like a classroom of recalcitrant students, with the Speaker given the role of a mere school principal but the Prime Minister like the education supervisor whose word and action is law!
Azalina who is Minister in the PM’s Department in charge of parliamentary affairs should understand the doctrine of separation of powers in a parliamentary democracy and the principle of parliamentary control of the Executive where the Prime Minister must also comply with the Parliamentary tradition, conventions, procedures and practices and cannot act as he likes in Parliament.
I call on Najib to show greater respect for Parliamentary tradition, conventions, procedures and practices than his Minister for parliamentary affairs, and not to condone Azalina’s unparliamentary schedule but to be in Parliament to answer MP speeches on the 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” twin mega scandals on the final day of Ministerial winding-up on 16th November.
I fully agree with DAP MP for Kulai, Teo Nie Ching that Azalina has completely misunderstood her duties, powers and responsibilities as Minister in charge of parliamentary affairs, thinking that her KPI and No. 1 job to continue as one of Najib’s ministers is to shield Najib from questions from the 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” twin mega scandals.
Najib should explain what he has to hide that he dare not come to Parliament to give a full accountability on the 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” twin mega scandals?
The new Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman, Datuk Hasan Arifin has impressed no one since his appointment on Oct. 19 with any sense of urgency or priority to complete the PAC investigations on 1MDB as soon as possible, in particular to catch up on the three months lost in the derailment of the PAC investigations since August.
Hasan’s only sense of urgency and priority appears to want to seal the lips of the DAP MP for PJ Utara Tony Pua from speaking on the 1MDB scandal, instead of heeding the concern of the Malay Rulers who in a statement of Oct. 6 called for 1MDB investigations to be completed as “soon as possible” and to take “the appropriate stern action” against all found to be implicated.
This is a most perverted and inverted sense of urgency and priority by the new PAC Chairman, which may be why Najib wants Hasan to be the new PAC Chairman!
Can Hasan give Parliament and the country an assurance that the PAC would be able to table a report on its 1MDB inquiries to Parliament to allow for a debate before Dewan Rakyat adjourns on Dec. 3?
Hasan late this evening told the press that the 1MDB Chief Executive Arul Kanda Kandasamy will appear before the PAC on Dec. 1, and that the former 1MDB CEO Shahrol Haklmi is being summoned before the PAC a week earlier on Nov. 25.
Arifin should explain why he is talking his own sweet time to continue PAC investigations into the 1MDB, why Arul and Shahrol could not be summoned earlier as by the middle of the month especially as both of them were supposed to testify before the PAC on August 4 and 5 (after absconding from the earlier May 26 PAC hearing) before the PAC investigations were derailed for three months.
Arul seems to be ever ready to be available for an instant debate with Tony Pua, which has been prohibited by the Speaker on the most ridiculous of grounds – why then is Hasan giving Arul almost one whole month before summoning him to appear before the PAC on such a matter of grave, urgent and public priority?
I also cannot understand why Arifin is so “soft” on the key personality in the 1MDB scandal, tycoon Jho Low, claiming that the PAC cannot summon him just yet because of the legal snag.
Jho Low is on public record as saying in August that he is ready to assist the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in its investigations into SRC International, which is implicated in the Wall Street Journal expose which claimed that RM42 million made its way from SRC into Najib’s personal accounts.
What is this “legal snag” that Hassan Arifin is talking about obstructing the PAC from summoning Jho Low to testify before PAC?
I call on Hasan to speed up the dates of hearing for Arul and the past 1MDB CEOs and operatives, as well as to summon Jho Low, so that PAC can table a report on its 1MDB investigations in time for the PAC report to be debated by Parliament before it adjourns on Dec. 3.
I also hope that Najib will set a good Prime Ministerial example by appearing in Parliament on Monday, Nov. 16, to give a full accountability for the 1MDB and RM2.6 billion “donation” twin mega scandals, and in particular, over the series of shocking events including the sacking of Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Cabinet Minister, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, the Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail, the dissolution of the multi-agency Special Task Force on 1MDB and internal convulsions like arrests or instant transfers in key enforcement agencies.
With the public appearance of Tan Sri Gani Patail at the Bar Council forum on Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) on Tuesday, showing him “hale and hearty”, questions as to why Gani was sacked three months before his compulsory retirement, whether it was really on health grounds, have resurfaced.
Let Najib tell Parliament on Nov. 16 whether Gani had been sacked because Gani was on the verge of charging the Prime Minister with corruption or an alternative charge of criminal breach of trust, or to issue a categorical denial in public for the first time.
(Speech at the Penang DAP “Solidarity with Lim Kit Siang – Mana RM2.6 billion” ceramah held at Penang Chinese Town Hall, Penang on Thursday, 5th November 2015 at 10 pm)