Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is a Select Committee set up by Parliament. Its role is to overseeing or scrutinising government expenditures approved by Parliament. Generally, in the Westminster style of Parliament like ours, by convention PAC normally take up matters raised in the Auditor-General (AG)’s Report.
Parliament’s Standing orders No 77 (1) provides as follows:
There shall be a Committee to be known as the Public Accounts Committee appointed at the beginning of every Parliament, for the examination of :
(a) the accounts of the Federation and the appropriation of the sums granted by Parliament to meet the public expenditure;
(b) such accounts of public authorities and other bodies administering public funds as may be laid before the House;
(c) reports of the Auditor-General laid before the House in accordance with Article 107 of the Constitution;
(d) such other matters as the Committee may think fit, or which may be referred to the Committee by the House.
YB Datuk Jazlan, MP for Pulai, is the Chairman of PAC. YB Tony Pua, MP for PJ Utara, is one of the other members of PAC. PAC held a meeting on 28-4-2014 to hear the testimonies of Tan Sri Tony Fernandes (Group CEO of AirAsia), Datuk Kamarudin Meranun (Executive Chairman of AirAsia Bhd), Ms Aireen Omar (CEO of AirAsia) and Tan Sri Ir Jamilus Hussein (Chairman of KLIA Premier Holding Sdn Bhd [KLIAC] and CEO Technical Consultant of AirAsia).
It would appear that the timing of the said PAC meeting was perfect. It was held just four days before the opening of KLIA2. KLIA2 opened for operation on 2-5-2014 and the PAC meeting with AirAsia top management was held on 28-4-2014.
By the way YB Tony Pua has been known to be very critical of KLIA2 on cost overrun and delay in its completion. But when KLIA2 is completed and AirAsia’s refusal to move to KLIA2, YB Tony Pua did not utter a word. Please read Tony Spins, Tony takes It U
YB Tony Pua was elated on the invitation of the top management of AirAsia to the said PAC meeting, which is unprecedented, HERE.
Prior to 28-4-2014 AirAsia has been severely criticised for not moving to KLIA2 citing safety issues as its reasons. The statements by Ms Aireen Omar, the CEO of AirAsia for standing firm for not moving was given massive publicity by Ms BK Sidhu, the editor of Star Business. There were four stories based on Ms Aireen Omar in one day. MS Aireen Omar demanded that PM Najib should intervene in this matter. Please read HERE.
Even the PM Najib commented that AirAsia was too arrogant and it had to move on 9 may, 2014. Soon after PM Najib’s statement AirAsia issued a statement that it will move on 9 May 2014. Please read HERE.
The Ministry of Transport had to call upon ICAO to do an inspection of KLIA2. ICAO has inspected and certified that KLIA2 is safe for operation. ICAO statement came out many days before the said PAC meeting was held on 28-4-2014.
The above is page 1 of the press statement which was immediately distributed to the press after the PAC meeting of 28-4-2013. By any standard we would like set, YB Datuk Nur Jazlan is the most efficient PAC Chairman of all times because a press statement was prepared and printed/photocopied within a short span of few minutes after the PAC finished hearing the testimonies of the officers of AirAsia on 28-4-2014. It would appear that the said press statement was ready for distribution to the press before hearing the said testimonies from the 3 officers of AirAsia.
Parliament should pass a special motion to award YB Datuk Nur Jazlan with a special medal for his very rare quality which is extremely hard, if not impossible, to emulate.
Let us now examine three paragraphs of page 1 of the PAC chairman, YB Datuk Nur Jazlan’s said press statement.
PAC memulakan prosiding KLIA 2 walaupun ia tidak terdapat dalam Laporan Ketua Audit Negara (LKAN) dan tiada wang kerajaan digunakan dalam pembinaan lapangan terbang ini, kerana ia membabitkan kepentingan rakyat berikutan kelewatan serta kos pembinaan KLIA 2 ini, dilaporkan dengan meluas di media massa.
(PAC commenced proceeding on KLIA2 even though it was found in the Auditor-General’s Report and no government fund was used in the construction of this airport, because it involved public interest flowing from the delay and cost of constructions, which has been widely reported in the mass media.)
… walaupun ia tidak terdapat dalam Laporan Ketua Audit Negara (LKAN) ( even though it was not found in the Auditor-General’s Report)
From the first part of the paragraph, it has been clearly admitted by YB Nur Jazlan that there was no report by AG on KLIA2 and there was no government funding involved. From this part of the press statement, firstly it clearly shows there was no documentary proof for PAC to commence to examine the so-called issues published in the press based on statements from Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and/or other officers of AirAsia. It is not within the PAC’s main jurisdiction to scrutinise a project when it was not highlighted by AG’S Report that was tabled in Parliament for consideration. In another words, PAC has jumped the gun to examine KLIA project.
… tiada wang kerajaan digunakan dalam pembinaan lapangan terbang ini (No government fund was used in the constructions of this airport)
Secondly it is also not within the main jurisdiction of PAC to scrutinise a project that did not involve government spending approved by Parliament that is to say non involvement of government fund.
… membabitkan kepentingan rakyat berikutan kelewatan serta kos pembinaan KLIA 2 ini, dilaporkan dengan meluas di media massa. (… because it involved public interest flowing from the delay and cost of constructions, which has been widely reported in the mass media)
For a start, it was unprecedented that PAC was interested in a mater based on the so-called the notion that it was widely published in the mass media. It is not the business of PAC to commenced examination of a project just because it was widely published in the mass media. As yours truly has said earlier that under normal circumstances PAC only examine or scrutinise matters that have been highlighted in the AG’s Report as it involved government expenditures which have been approved by Parliament.
By the way most, if not all, of the publicity were generated by Ms BK Sidhu, editor of Business Star, who has been widely known to have published under her name, pertaining to matters highlighted by AirAsia or its officers. She had been caught with quoting an un-known source that the Initial Public Offering (IPO) of AirAsia X shares will be over-subscribed by 5 to 6 times, HERE.
The said over-subscription of IPO of AirAsia X shares by 5 to 6 times has turned out to be not only false but the IPO share price of RM1.40 dropped to RM1.25 and Maybank Investment had to pump in fund totally RM36 million to stabilise AirAsia X’s IPO share price. Please read HERE.
Since the misleading article of BK Sidhu has clearly designed to mislead the investing public and public interest was definitely involved as it was published in the Star, PAC should in fact investigate into the irresponsible reporting by BK Sidhu. Of course, this is of no interest to YB Datuk Nur Jazlan and/or his other colleague YB Tony Pua, who was the former CEO of the globally known Cyber Village Holding Ltd, which was incorporated in Singapore and later changed is name to Koyo International Ltd.
Pada masa sama, PAC juga mahu melihat peranan wakil kerajaan dalam Lembaga Pengarah MAHB yang terdiri daripada wakil Kementerian Pengangkutan, Unit Perancang Ekonomi serta Kementerian Kewangan dalam memastikan segala kepentingan kerajaan sentiasa dipelihara.
(At the same time, PAC would also like to look at the role of the government’s representatives from Ministry of Transport, Economic Planning Unit and Ministry of Finance to ensure that all the government interest is protected at all times.)
It was not within the main jurisdiction of PAC to look into the role of the government’s representatives whether the government’s interest is protected at all time unless it was connected to the government expenditures that were approved by Parliament. This new found power of PAC must be due to the figment of YB Datuk Nur Jazlan.’s wild imagination. It would appear that before AG’s Report is tabled in Parliament, YB Datuk Nur Jazlan has jumped the gun to give the impression that the government’s representative in these three departments have been proven to have failed to protect the government interest in the matters connected to KLIA2. This was most unfair on the part of the extremely learned PAC Chairman, YB Nur Jazlan.
PAC berterima kasih kepada pengurusan tertinggi AirAsia yang sudi hadir memberikan keterangan dan penjelasan syarikat berkenaan mengenai KLIA2 memandangkan, dalam prosiding sebelum ini, membabitkan Kementerian Pengangkutan dan MAHB banyak merujuk kepada AirAsia yang antaranya penyebab berlakunya penukaran terhadap perancangan pembinaan KLIA2 hingga menimbulkan masalah.
(PAC would like to express its thank to the top management of AirAsia who willingly attended to give evidence and clarifications in connection with KLIA2, as before this proceedings the Ministry of Transport and MAHB have made many references to AirAsia being the cause of the changed of construction plans that has caused the problems.)
Surely, it will be most incredible that Ministry of Transport (MOT) and Malaysia Airport Holding Berhad (MAHB) made such statements orally about AirAsia being the cause of changed of construction plans that resulted in problems for KLIA2 during the last PAC proceedings. It will be equally incredible that PAC did not ask for supporting documents when such statements were made. It would be most irresponsible for anyone to suggest or to give an impression that the said statements made by MOT and MAHB was not supported with documents.
It will be most incredible that with such extremely learned PAC chairman and YB Tony Pua, the ex-CEO of one of the globally known IT company Cyber Village Holdings Ltd will accept the oral or hearsay statements hurled against AirAsia by MOT, MAHB and/or Ministry of Finance
The extremely learned PAC Chairman please take note that in future please do not make such a silly mistake which has exhibited his eagerness to be an emperor’s apologist at best. YB Datuk Nur Jazlan should appoint a good Spin Doctor to prepare the advance copy of all his press statements.
The remaining eleven paragraphs of the extremely learned PAC Chairman’s press statement will be dealt with in Part 2 and 3 of this posting. Stay tune for Part 2 and Part 3 which is as equally interesting if not damning.