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Don: Agong can unblock attempts to hide 1MDB audit
Published:  Jul 8, 2016 7:37 AM
Updated: Jul 9, 2016 7:31 AM

Following leaks of what is claimed to be the auditor-general's report on 1MDB by Sarawak Report, a law professor said the constitution does not give the government the liberty to withhold the document from the public.

Constitutional law expert professor Abdul Aziz Bari said the government was wrong to use an "ordinary law like the Official Secrets Act (OSA) to shut down" a constitutional provision such as the auditor-general's report.

He reminded that the constitution is superior to the OSA.

"See Article 106(2), which provides that the auditor-general is under a duty to examine accounts of the governments, and the auditor-general is under a duty to submit the completed report to the Agong, and the latter is under a duty to put it in Parliament for tabling," he told Malaysiakini.

"I don't think, given the democratic nature of the constitution, that the Agong or the auditor-general or Parliament, has the power to stop the tabling.

"I think the tabling is a matter of course.

"As such, should there be an attempt to block it, then the Agong is under a duty to make sure that such a blocking is removed.

"The constitution as the supreme law cannot be undermined," he said.

"OSA is subject to the constitution. Not the other way around," he added.

'Report should go to Agong'

Former PAS leaders Husam Musa and Dzulkefly Ahmad today urged the rulers to intervene and order the auditor-general's report to be declassified.

Aziz Bari also criticised the Najib administration's failure to table the auditor-general's report together with the annual budget, which is required according to the constitution.

"That was wrong, especially in light of Article 107(1). The government cannot withhold the auditor-general's report.

"In fact, the report should go straight to the Agong, not to the PM's Office, according to Article.107(1)."

He said Dewan Rakyat speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia and PAC chairperson Hasan Arifin were wrong to think the publicising of the report was at the government's discretion, and have ignored Article 107(1).

"It looks like they think whether or not 1MDB's report should be made public is a matter of government discretion

"That is utter nonsense; for one thing, the auditor-general has been given a position where his well-being, like that of judges, is well protected; see Articles 105(2), (3), (4), (5) and (6).

"What's the point of protecting the auditor-general if he is subject to the mercy of the sitting government?"

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