The first meeting of the newly reconstituted Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) under a new Chairman Datuk Hasan Arifin is a great national let-down, as after three-month derailment, the PAC is dragging its feet and procrastinating on 1MDB investigations with no sense of urgency or priority and making a total mockery of the concern of the Malay Rulers, the 30 million Malaysians and the majority of the three million UMNO members.
I suggest that the PAC Chairman Datuk Arifin and the newly-appointed PAC members should be provided with a copy of the Malay Ruler’s unprecedented statement of Oct. 6 calling for the 1MDB investigations to be completed “as soon as possible” and for “appropriate stern action” to be taken against all found to be implicated.
The Malay Rulers’ statement should be compulsory reading for Arifin and the new PAC members for it articulated not only the concern of the Malay Rulers, but the 30 million Malaysians including the majority of the three million UMNO members on the inordinate procrastination of 1MDB investigations.
Arifin and the PAC members should be mindful of the concern of Malay Rulers at the negative repercussions of inordinate procrastination of 1MDB investigations on the prolonged and ongoing “crisis of confidence” causing the “plunge in the value of the Malaysian ringgit, impacting the country’s financial market and the economic climate negatively and at the same time adversely affecting the world’s view of Malaysia”.
The Malay Rulers expressed their fear that if the 1MDB scandal was not “wisely handled” and “allowed to drag on”, it could “jeopardize the country’s economy and the livelihood of the people”, and urged all enforcement agencies and regulatory institutions to be “worthy of God’s trust and the people’s faith with transparency, credibility and integrity”.
In deciding on a policy of procrastination on 1MDB investigations, as no decision had been made on when to summon the 1MDB chief executive Arul Kanda Kandasamy, its former head Shahrul Halmi, and other key 1MDB personalities and operatives, the PAC is guilty of dragging its feet and not having the necessary sense of urgency and priority as expected by the Malay Rulers, the 30 million Malaysians and the majority of three million UMNO members.
If the PAC investigations into 1MDB had not been derailed, and the PAC not cannibalized with the removal of the PAC Chairman and three other members by the simple expedient of promoting them as Minister and Deputy Ministers in the sudden shock Cabinet reshuffle of July 28, which was also saw 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, the PAC would have been very advanced in its 1MDB inquiries getting testimony from current and former 1MDB CEOs and key executives.
One would have thought that the PAC, after three-month derailment, would have acted with speed to catch up on lost time, trying to complete in the next three weeks what it would have accomplished in the past three month if PAC work had not been sabotaged.
It is most shocking that the new PAC Chairman has no sense of urgency or priority whatsoever about the 1MDB investigations as the most important subject before the PAC, and to catch up on precious “lost time”.
From the “pace” of PAC proceedings set by Arifin, the PAC may not even get into any 1MDB investigations in the next few months!
MPs and the 30 million Malaysians, as well as the majority of three million UMNO members, are entitled to ask Arifin what is the timetable and timeframe for 1MDB investigations by PAC under him as chairman, and if he is not “seized” with a sense of urgency and priority about the 1MDB investigations, he should resign as PAC Chairman to be replaced by someone else who has such a sense of urgency and priority.l