Shahrir should resign as Public Accounts Committee Chairman on his appointment as Perbadanan Nasional Bhd (PNS) Chairman to avoid conflict-of-interests arising from incompatibility of the two roles
Media Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang
(Parliament, Friday): Barisan Nasional Member of Parliament for Johor Bahru Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad should resign as Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman of Parliament on his appointment as Perbadanan Nasional Bhd (PNS) Chairman to avoid a conflict-of-interest situation arising from the incompatibility of his two roles.
During the last sitting of the 41-day 2005 budget meeting on December 14, 2004, the last item of parliamentary business was the motion to appoint Shahrir as the PAC Chairman to replace Tan Sri Ramli Ngah Talib, who had been elected as the Parliament Speaker.
In the debate, I expressed my support and confidence in Shahrir as the PAC Chairman although I would have preferred Parliament joining the mainstream Commonwealth parliamentary practice, convention and tradition of having an Opposition MP to head the Public Accounts Committee to provide an effective check on the governmentís financial stewardship, hoping that Shahrir would develop the PAC to be respected and feared not only by the civil servants but also by the Cabinet Ministers as well.
Shahrirís appointment as the new chairman of Perbadanan Nasional Bhd effective from January 1, 2005 has however changed the entire picture.
I am not impugning Shahrirís credentials or qualifications for the post of PNS Chairman, just as I had not questioned his credentials or suitability to be PAC Chairman, but clearly he cannot do justice to both roles because of their incompatibility, giving rise to conflict-of-interest situations.
PNS is a Minister of Finance
Incís majority-owned company and an agency under the purview of the
Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Ministry (MECD) tasked with the
responsibility to develop and increase the number of middle level bumiputera
entrepreneurs in the country.
Shahrir should not put PAC in an invidious position and spare Parliament the embarrassment of his conflicting dual role, when PNS should in fact be one target which should be receiving intense PAC scrutiny, not only because its chief executive officer Shaharian Shahrudin was arrested and charged with corruption concerning criminal breach of trust involving over RM460,000, and now awaiting trial, but also because it operates companies and entrepreneur development funds which run into billions of ringgit, raising questions about accountability, integrity and professionalism.
Shahrir should resign as PAC Chairman so that the post could be filled in the special parliamentary sitting on January 17. Now that the PAC Chairmanís post is to be vacant again, the time has come for an Opposition MP to be appointed. I will write to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, urging him to agree to an Opposition MP to be PAC Chairman as an important step to transform the Malaysian Parliament into a First-World Parliament.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman