In Perak, a dispute over PH’s PAC promise

Appointing an opposition member as head of the Public Accounts Committee was one of the promises in Pakatan Harapan’s election manifesto.

PETALING JAYA: A Perak assemblyman has questioned the discrepancy in Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) manifesto pledge to appoint an opposition member as head of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) at the parliamentary and state levels.

Speaking to FMT, Umno’s Kota Tampan assemblyman Saraani Mohamad said although PH had honoured this promise at the parliamentary level, it had not done so in Perak, some 10 months after it wrested power from Barisan Nasional (BN).

In Perak, PAC is headed by DAP’s Malim Nawar assemblyman Leong Cheok Keng. His deputy chairman, Keranji assemblyman Chong Zemin, is also from DAP.

“There are no signs that it will be implemented, just like many of PH’s election promises,” Saraani said.

He said Perak state assembly speaker Ngeh Koo Ham had cited PAC’s investigations into the previous administration’s alleged misdeeds in explaining why the committee chairman’s post couldn’t be given to the opposition.

Calling this “vindictive”, Saraani asked: “Why is it so afraid to appoint an opposition assemblyman as PAC chairman? This excuse is unacceptable. PH must learn to become a responsible government and drop its opposition mentality.”

When contacted, Ngeh told FMT that the Perak PH manifesto did not state that PAC would be chaired by a member of the opposition.

“But in principle, the spirit of the national PH manifesto that the opposition will head PAC should be followed,” he added.

However, at both national and state levels, Ngeh said, PH should head PAC until all BN-era scandals have been investigated.

He said a PH representative was made to chair PAC in Perak as it is investigating the scandals of the previous state administration.

As this might take up to three years, Ngeh said it would be counter-productive to have an opposition member lead PAC as the committee would then be investigating its colleagues or former colleagues.

“When PH government scandals are being investigated, then the opposition should head PAC,” he said.