KUALA LUMPUR — August 5, 2015: Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia has stated that the plan by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to make public an interim report on its probe of 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) is against the Standing Orders of the Dewan Rakyat.
Standing Order 85 prohibits the PAC’s findings from being made public before they are presented to the House.
It states: “The evidence taken before any Select Committee and any documents presented to such a committee shall not be published by any member of such a committee, or by any other person, before the committee has presented
its report to the House.”
The publication of an interim report is also against Section 23 of the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act, which clearly disallows any MP or committee from making revelations outside the House without first getting its
Pandikar Amin said this in relation to a statement by PAC vice-chairman Dr. Tan Seng Giaw that it may issue an interim report to let the public know the status of the investigation.
On the issue of whether he PAC can continue its meetings as it only has three members left, Pandikar said Standing Order 83 (3) states that unless the House otherwise directs, three members including the chairman shall be the quorum.
“However, although the quorum criterion has been met, because the chairman’s post has been vacated, the PAC cannot continue with its meetings until a chairman is appointed by the House,” he said.
He also stressed that Standing Order 77 (3) is only applicable when there is a sitting chairman and that the PAC does not have inherent powers to choose one of their own to be chairman when the post is vacated.
Standing Order [77 (3) states: “In the absence of the chairman or vice-chairman due to illness or for any other reason whatsoever, the committee shall elect any one member to act as chairman to preside over the committee’s
On the issue of the vice-chairman filling in for the chairman, Pandikar Amin said the vice-chairman cannot do this because Standing Order 82 (2) is very clear on the procedures on the appointment of a new chairman.
Standing Order 82 (2) states: “In the event of the death of a member appointed to a committee, or if his seat becomes vacant for any other reason, the House or the committee of selection, as the case may require, shall appoint
another member in his place, and in so doing shall observe the provisions of paragraph (1) (1).”
The paragraph says: “Every Select Committee shall be so far as is practicable, the balance between the parties within the House is reflected in the committee.”
The issue cropped up after four members of the PAC from the Barisan Nasional, including the chairman, were recently appointed as members of the Executive. — Bernama