After former UMNO deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin and former senator Ezam Mohd Noor demanded that the Auditor-General’s (AG) Report on 1MDB be declassified to ensure accountability and transparency, UMNO Supreme Council Member Datuk Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi asked to read the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Report on the matter properly.
Puad said that if they had read it, they would not have asked that the report be declassified. He said the conclusions of the auditor-general and PAC could be found on pages 103 to 106 and it was wrong for Muhyiddin to fault Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak for classifying it when it was on the request of the auditor-general himself.
I had to laugh out loud when I read the comments made by Puad.
Firstly, the Auditor-General had only specifically requested for his report to be classified while it was being deliberated by the PAC. He told the PAC that it is up to the PAC to publish the AG’s Report upon the completion of PAC’s own report.
The PAC Chairman, Datuk Hasan Arifin himself has explained to the media on March 7, that “the federal audit report on 1MDB will no longer be classified a state secret under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) once the PAC tables its findings on it in Parliament.”
Hence if Dato’ Seri Najib Razak and his Cabinet was not to be faulted for refusing to declassify the AG’s Report, then who is?
Secondly, it is once again ridiculous, just as was claimed by the Multimedia and Communications Minister, Datuk Seri Salleh Keruak, that there was no need for the AG’s Report to be made publicly accessible since the PAC Report has already been tabled.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in its proceedings, relies almost entirely on the findings of the AG Report to present its deliberations, conclusions and recommendations. In fact, the PAC members understood that the AG’s Report was to be presented together with the the PAC Report to provide a complete picture with detailed facts and figures to the Parliament.
Hence the PAC Report itself made extensive references to the findings AG’s Report without citing the details for the simple reason that the committee members were expecting the AG’s Report to be published together with the PAC Report.
In fact, PAC members from the government backbench and opposition concurred fully with the AG’s Report and never at any point of time, as recorded in the PAC Hansard, disagreed or rejected the findings. Hence all the findings in the AG’s Report must be deemed factual and dealt with accordingly by the authorities.
Why is Datuk Dr Puad Zarkashi and the entire Barisan Nasional leadership so afraid of these facts within the AG’s Report to be published?
It is also a joke for Puad to claim that “the bits of the auditor-general's report can be taken randomly without fully knowing the context of the information,” giving “rise to various speculations.”
If Puad is so worried about these “bits” giving the wrong context, then surely, he must immediately advise his party President to declassify the full report immediately so as to prevent these “bits” from being leaked by parties like the Sarawak Report.
Why is Puad so scared of declassifying the report? Unless of course, he knows that the AG’s Report contains damning evidence of multi-billion dollar misappropriation and abuse of power which will expose all the lies and deceit expounded by 1MDB and the Prime Minister himself.