Opposition members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) from BN and PAS will resign until the government agrees to replace the current committee chairperson.
Speaking to the press at Parliament today, opposition chief Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the resignation will be in effect until Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad revises his decision to retain current PAC leader Ronald Kiandee, and selects a new chief from the opposition.
Ismail, who is also Umno vice-president, said this would be in line with Pakatan Harapan’s election manifesto in which it pledged to reserve the position of PAC chairperson for the opposition.
He added that it was especially disappointing as BN had proposed Parit Sulong MP Noraini Ahmad as the new PAC chair in a letter to Dewan Rakyat Speaker Mohd Ariff Md Yusof, but received no response.
Current opposition members of the PAC comprise BN lawmakers Noraini, Ahmad Hamzah (Jasin), PAS lawmaker Takiyuddin Hassan (Kota Bharu), and GPS lawmaker Robert Lawson Chuat (Betong).
However, Robert Lawson has not expressed his intention to resign from the PAC.
“This (the decision to retain Ronald) means Harapan has absolute power in the PAC, whereas the intention of electing the chairperson from the opposition was so the PAC could serve as a more effective check and balance, especially when reviewing cases that involves the government.
“[...] All opposition members from the PAC (from BN and PAS) will resign and give full power to them (Harapan) if that is the wish of the government.
“We will no longer remain in the PAC until a decision is made by the government to accord the position of chairperson to the opposition,” Ismail said during the press conference.
The Bera MP added that while the three lawmakers have yet to submit their resignation notices, they were stepping down “immediately”.
In response to Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker Nga Kor Ming’s statement that Ronald should be given time to complete his work on the committee before being replaced, Ismail said that was “unnecessary”.
He said: “Noraini is a present member of the PAC, so she knows what is being discussed. That is why we nominated her.”
Meanwhile, Takiyuddin, who is also PAS secretary-general, said there was no need for Mahathir to seek a replacement as Umno had the right to name its candidate for the chair, as it had the largest number of opposition members in the August House.
Controversy first arose when Kiandee left Umno to join Bersatu on March 15.
Mahathir had stated that it was unnecessary for Ronald to resign from his PAC post, despite the latter no longer being part of the opposition.
The premier's remark attracted criticism from both sides of the political divide, with PKR lawmaker Nurul Izzah Anwar resigning from her post as PAC committee member last Friday.