PAC rushing to complete 1MDB report, hopes to table it by Thursday

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This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on April 5, 2016.

 

KUALA LUMPUR: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is rushing to complete its report on 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) in the hope of tabling it to Dewan Rakyat before the current sitting ends on Thursday.

PAC member William Leong said the parliamentary panel had been working on the report since two weeks ago.

“We are drafting it now; we still have some more discussions today (yesterday),” Leong told reporters at the Parliament lobby yesterday.

The PKR lawmaker said the process takes time, as the committee had to come out with a comprehensive report.

“We have to write a comprehensive report, so that’s why it is taking time,” he said. “We are rushing it. We are trying to finish it today (yesterday).”

Leong said if the report could be completed yesterday, then it is likely to be tabled to Dewan Rakyat on Thursday, as two days are needed for printing.

Asked about the PAC’s final findings on 1MDB, Leong said the committee is still working on it.

However, he added: “Based on the information in the public, it will be difficult for anyone to say [as to whether] what happened in 1MDB is satisfactory.”

Leong, who is a member of parliament (MP) for Selayang, said the drafting process takes time, as the committee had to go through many matters during the 10 official meetings on the 1MDB investigation.

It involves “the whole life of 1MDB” since its inception in 2009, and includes many transactions, he said.

Leong said both the ruling and the opposition MPs in the PAC were generally in agreement on the points discussed so far.

“So far, in all the issues we are in agreement; we have not reached a point where there is disagreement. But there are still more points to go,” he said.

Asked whether the PAC would take into account 1MDB’s rationalisation plan, which has been implemented since May 29 last year to reduce 1MDB’s debts, Leong said the panel’s role was more on identifying the cause of the problem.

“[The] PAC is looking at the government’s finances; we want to make sure the financial obligations ... are taken care of. At the same time, we must protect the government’s funding.

“More importantly for [the] PAC, we always want to see why it happened, whether there is any weakness in the regulation or system [which] we’d want to correct.

“For instance, in the rationalisation plan, the loans are fully repaid; still the PAC needs to look back, and ask [as to] why has this happened and what [was] the cause of it,” he said.

Leong said the PAC had made recommendations in some of its previous investigations. He cited the Port Klang Free Zone probe, where the PAC recommended further action to be taken.

The PAC began its investigation into 1MDB in March 2015, and had called the former and current chief executive officers of the controversial strategic fund to be grilled on the dealings of the company during their tenure.

The auditor-general (AG) had also conducted an audit of 1MDB’s accounts and the report was handed to the PAC at the end of last year, which has since been classified under the Official Secrets Act.

Leong was unsure of whether the AG’s report would be tabled together with the PAC report on 1MDB.