Thursday, May 19, 2016

Why can’t the Auditor-General’s Report on 1MDB be tabled in Parliament and made public similar to other A-G Reports?

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Azalina Othman said that “there is no need for the government to present the auditor-general's final report on 1MDB to Parliament”.  She said this was because the Public Accounts Committee's (PAC) report on 1MDB had been tabled to Dewan Rakyat.

"The auditor-general's report was discussed in PAC before it concluded its report," she responded to the Parliamentary question from the Member of Parliament for Kuala Kedah, Azman Ismail yesterday.

In another reply to the Member of Parliament for Raub, Datuk Mohd Ariff Sabri, she said that "the auditor-general's report on 1MDB was classified under the OSA to ensure there was no leakage of information throughout the PAC proceedings.  The auditor-general report was specifically meant for PAC.”

The responses by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department demonstrate the entrenched culture of secrecy and opacity to cover up the shenanigans which are linked to the top political leadership of UMNO and Barisan Nasional.

Just because the PAC tables its own findings and conclusions on 1MDB, it does not mean that the Auditor-General’s Report cannot be tabled as an appendix as well.  On the contrary, the PAC Report makes numerous references to the Auditor-General’s Report which will necessitate the tabling of the latter as an appendix to provide the Malaysian public with all the relevant information and evidence with the complete picture.

While we concede that the OSA was used to “ensure there was no leakage of information throughout the PAC proceedings”, the fact that the proceedings have ended means that the AG Report should be immediately declassified.  It is no longer necessary for the Cabinet to maintain its OSA status.

In fact, the Auditor-General has also tabled its regular reports on its audit of selected Government departments yesterday to both the Parliament and the PAC.  The latest edition of the report exposed continued multi-billion ringgit of abuses and wastages by various Government ministries and departments.

For example, there was mismanagement of RM312 million disaster relief fund for flood victims, the RM2.23 billion “River of Life” project and the RM1.42 billion Solid Waste Disposal sites.

If these “departmental” abuses can be tabled in Parliament prior to the PAC even conducting further investigations on the respective problematic projects, why is there a special need for secrecy for 1MDB, which is merely another Ministry of Finance subsidiary? Or is it?

Is it because the Auditor-General’s Report will incriminate the Finance and Prime Minister himself, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak and hence the desperate attempts by the Executive to ensure that the Auditor-General’s Report cannot even be tabled to Parliament and will never see the light of day?

However, if Dato’ Seri Najib Razak feels such allegations are unfair and are designed to malign his reputation, and that he has absolutely nothing to hide, then he should immediately order the Auditor-General’s Report to be declassified immediately.

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