PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has defended his decision to retain Beluran MP Ronald Kiandee as Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman.
Speaking to reporters after launching the Ikon Remaja programme here today, Mahathir said Pakatan Harapan (PH) never expected Kiandee to cross over from the opposition.
PH’s manifesto had pledged to reserve the position of the PAC chief for a member of the opposition as part of its promise to restore the dignity of Parliament.
“He was in the opposition when we selected him (as PAC chairman). We kept to the manifesto promise but if he decides to join a government party what can we do? We cannot say no.”
Yesterday, Kiandee, the former Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker was among former Sabah Umno leaders who joined Mahathir’s PPBM.
On whether other PH parties had agreed to Kiandee remaining as PAC chairman, Mahathir said to his knowledge, there was no disagreement.
Mahathir also dismissed speculation that Perak Menteri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu would be replaced as he was seen as a “controversial” figure.
“He is controversial because people want to take his place. People always find everybody controversial. Even myself there are people who want to replace me, it’s normal. I preside in the Cabinet (but) everything is smooth.”
Mahathir also said he was unaware that Johor Menteri Besar Osman Sapian had gone to Batam, Indonesia as claimed by some.
Social media users had criticised Osman for supposedly going to Batam to promote the visit Johor 2020 programme amid the chemical pollution problem in Pasir Gudang.
Earlier, Mahathir, in launching the Ikon Remaja programme, urged the teenage participants to look at examples of good values they could embrace as they were the future of the country.
“Teenagers will inherit the country; the adults, especially those who are 93, will go,” quipped Mahathir, who will turn 94 this year.
“The ones who will take the reins are the young people, who must have positive values and who should be hardworking.”
Mahathir cited the example of the Japanese, who, despite losing World War II, managed to rebuild their country and become an economic superpower.
He said one value which drove the Japanese was a strong sense of shame when they failed.
“To avoid this embarrassment, they work hard at everything they do,” he said at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre.
He said if Malaysians followed the Japanese example, they too could produce quality goods to be exported around the world.
Also present were Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad and Rural and Regional Development Minister Rina Harun.