Remaining members of panel probing 1MDB to issue report, as vice-chairman bemoans 'sabotage'

The remaining members of Malaysia's Public Accounts Committee, which is investigating embattled sovereign debt fund 1MDB, is planning to release a brief report on its findings.
The remaining members of Malaysia's Public Accounts Committee, which is investigating embattled sovereign debt fund 1MDB, is planning to release a brief report on its findings. PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The remaining members of Malaysia's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) are planning to release a brief report on its investigations into debt-ridden sovereign debt fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), said its deputy chairman, after telling the Malaysian Insider on Monday that the panel had been "deliberately sabotaged".

"Under public pressure, PAC may have to come out with a brief report of how far it has proceeded with the 1MDB inquiry before the proceedings are suspended for nearly three months," said PAC deputy chairman Tan Seng Giaw during a press conference in Parliament on Tuesday (Aug 4).

The other PAC members present were Selayang MP William Leong, Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua and Tumpat MP Datuk Kamaruddin Jaffar.

Dr Tan insisted that the PAC could still function as it had sufficient quorum under Standing Order 77(2) to do so.

While acknowledging Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia's power to freeze the inquiry, he said he had no power to stop them from functioning.

Mr Pandikar last Friday said the PAC could not hold proceedings until a new chairman has been appointed.

"PAC has been deliberately suspended and we already anticipated the 1MDB people would not turn up," Dr Tan told the Malaysian Insider on Monday.

"We have anticipated the whole thing to be deliberately sabotaged," he added.

Though Dr Tan refused to say who had sabotaged the proceedings, he added that last Tuesday's Malaysian Cabinet reshuffle was the first time in PAC history that so many of its members were appointed to ministerial posts at the same time.

The PAC postponed its 1MDB probe as its chairman Nur Jazlan Mohamed and three other Barisan Nasional members were appointed to ministerial posts in the recent reshuffle.

Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed vacated the chairman's post following his appointment as Deputy Home Minister, as the appointment disqualified him from being part of the PAC, whose members must be ordinary MPs.

Dr Tan said a notification was issued by Parliament secretary Datuk Roosmee Hamzah on Monday, informing members that the PAC meetings, scheduled for Aug 4, 5, 6, 17 and 18, had been postponed.

No alternative dates were stated in the notice, he said.

The bipartisan panel was to have grilled former 1MDB chief executive Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi in Parliament on Tuesday morning,

It was then slated to question president and group executive director Arul Kanda Kandasamy on Wednesday.

Mr Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman, who was 1MDB chief executive from March 2013 to January 2015, was to be probed by the panel on Thursday.

Dr Tan, however, said the committee intended to go ahead with its work and keep the public informed of its inquiry.

Before last Tuesday's Cabinet reshuffle, the PAC had 13 members - eight from Barisan Nasional and five from the opposition.

Meanwhile, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has urged all parties to wait for results from all investigations into the 1MDB issue.

"We have to wait for the results from all the investigations.

"Whether it is the results from the special taskforce or the process that involves the National Audit Department and the Public Accounts Committee in Parliament, we must wait for them to conclude investigations before any further explanation is made," he told reporters after launching the National Ski and Snowboard Team at the Olympic Council of Malaysia headquarters here yesterday.

"We've already explained as much as we are able to, but what we are waiting for now are the results.

"After these are presented to the public, only then can we get a clearer picture and verify whether what was investigated was right."

He said that as Umno Youth leader, his view was that the probe had to continue and, in fact, hastened.

"Any explanation to the grassroots can only be made when we have gained certainty from the investigations."