No special parliament sitting to appoint parliamentary committee chairman, says Malaysia Cabinet

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Malaysian Cabinet said on Wednesday it has decided not to call for a special parliament sitting to elect a new Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman despite concerns that the vacancy could result in delays in the PAC's investigations into the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) state investment fund.

The probe by the bipartisan parliamentary committee into 1MDB had come to a halt after its chairman, Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed, was appointed Deputy Home Minister as part of a Cabinet reshuffle issued by Prime Minister Najib Razak last month.

According to Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, the PAC chairman will be elected by a selection committee when parliament reconvenes in October.

"We will release a statement once a chairman has been elected by the committee," she said in a statement on Wednesday.

"However, after considering the recent Cabinet reshuffle, there is a need to appoint or replace current selection committee members before it can act to appoint a chairman for PAC," she added.

Three other PAC members - Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican and Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin were also appointed Deputy Ministers and Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau as Minister - in the reshuffle, forcing them to drop from the PAC.

There had been calls by several officials from the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition and the opposition for a special sitting to be convened soon in order to appoint a new PAC head so that the 1MDB probe could proceed.

1MDB's former and current chiefs Datuk Shahrol Halmi and Arul Kanda Kandasamy had been scheduled to testify at the PAC hearings on Aug 4 and 5 but the hearings did not proceed.

The next Parliament meeting is scheduled for Oct 19.