1MDB hearing will continue as scheduled even with 4 PAC members gone: Deputy chairman

Signage for 1MDB is displayed at the site of the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) project in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Signage for 1MDB is displayed at the site of the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) project in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

KUALA LUMPUR - The parliamentary hearing into the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) will continue despite the stepping down of four key Public Accounts Committee (PAC) members, including the chairman who is overseeing the investigation, local media reported.

PAC deputy chairman Dr Tan Seng Giaw told The Malaysian Insider (TMI) news site that chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed was wrong to say that all proceedings arranged for August, including the debt-ridden state fund 1MDB, will be halted until the new PAC line-up is announced.

"We have got to continue. We have nine members left, and all you need is three members plus one chairman to form a quorum, according to the Standing Orders," Dr Tan, an opposition member of the bipartisan PAC, was quoted as saying by TMI.

"When the chairman is not around, the deputy takes over. If both are not available, the members can elect a new chairman on the spot. So that's it, that's the rule of law."

The allegations of extensive graft at the debt-laden fund are the biggest threat to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's credibility since he took office in 2009 and could threaten the grip his Umno party has kept on politics since independence in 1957.

Datuk Seri Najib sacked his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in a Cabinet reshuffle on Tuesday after the latter called on his boss publicly to explain the situation around 1MDB, which has debts of more than RM42 billion (S$15 billion).

Datuk Nur Jazlan was named a new deputy home minister in the new Cabinet. Three of his colleagues at PAC - Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin and Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau - were also appointed into the Cabinet.

Members of the PAC are not allowed to hold any position in the Cabinet. Parliament will choose new PAC members in October, Reuters reported.

Dr Tan said 1MDB president and group executive director Arul Kanda Kandasamy and former 1MDB chief executive officer Datuk Shahrol Halmi will be questioned on August 4 and 5 as planned.