Malaysia's PAC cannot publicise interim report on 1MDB: Official

Public Accounts Committee chairman Nur Jazlan Mohamad (left) and deputy Tan Seng Giaw with an interim report on 1MDB.
Public Accounts Committee chairman Nur Jazlan Mohamad (left) and deputy Tan Seng Giaw with an interim report on 1MDB.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's Public Accounts Committee ( PAC) cannot publicise an interim report on its investigation into 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) as doing so would be against Parliament Standing Orders, says Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia.

On Tuesday, the PAC had announced its intention to release a brief report on the committee's investigations into 1MDB for the purposes of public knowledge before proceedings are suspended for some three months.

Pandikar said that such an action would be in clear contradiction of Parliament Standing Order 85, which disallows the premature publication of evidence before the committee has presented its report to the Dewan Rakyat.

"The publication of the interim report is also in contradiction with the Houses of Parliament (Privilages and Powers) Act 1952 which disallows any member or any committee to give evidence outside the House without leave from the Dewan Rakyat," Pandikar said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Speaker had said last Friday the PAC cannot hold proceedings until a new chairman has been appointed.

"Although the remaining PAC members fulfil quorum for committee members, the position of chairman has been vacated and therefore, the PAC cannot continue its proceedings until a new chairman is appointed by the House," Pandikar said in Wednesday's statement.

He explained also that as the position of chairman was vacant, the remaining PAC members did not have power to elect a new chairman amongst themselves.

He also clarified that the committee's deputy-chairman cannot conduct a PAC proceeding in his capacity as a deputy as it is in contravention of Standing Order 82(2).

The PAC has postponed its 1MBD proceedings after its chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed and three other Barisan Nasional members were appointed to ministerial posts in the recent Cabinet reshuffle.

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