March 5, 2009 By SYLVIA LOOI
IPOH: The Perak Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was forced to call another inquiry after four of the five people summoned to the committee Thursday failed to turn up.
Only former Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin appeared for the inquiry at the state secretariat here.
Absent were Mentri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abd Kadir, state legal adviser (SLA) Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid, State Secretary Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Hashim and State Financial Officer (SFO) Datuk Jamalludin Al Amini Ahmad.
While the SFO had informed Wong of his absence earlier this week, the SLA and the State Secretary only submitted letters to the committee minutes before the start of the inquiry.
Expressing disappointment over their absence, committee chairman Wong Kah Woh told reporters that the PAC would sit again next Friday (March 13) at 3pm.
“As a committee formed under Standing Order 70 of the Assembly, the PAC should be respected,” he said after the inquiry ended at 5.10pm.
Stressing that the committee was not there to judge which was the rightful government, Wong who is also Canning assemblyman said the PAC was the guardian of public funds meant to protect the rakyat’s (people’s) money.
Asked what would happen if Dr Zambry failed to turn up at next week’s inquiry, Wong said the committee might be forced to dispose the matter in his absence and submit a report to the state assembly.
On why the Rights and Privileges Committee failed to submit a report to the State Assembly over the suspension of Dr Zambry and his six exco members, Wong said: “That you have to ask the Speaker.”
In a statement, Dr Zambry said he did not attend the inquiry because Wong, as PAC chairman, had complained about him to the Rights and Privileges Committee.
“This will give rise to prejudice and unfairness on his part,” Dr Zambry claimed.
He also claimed that according to Erskine Mays Parliamentary Practice, the PAC did not have the power to sit when the Assembly had adjourned.
On Sunday, it was reported that the PAC would hold the inquiry to determine which of the two Mentris Besar and their executive councillors should receive salaries and allowances.
It would also look into the appointments of three advisers and an information chief with the status of excos by Dr Zambry.
In a press conference on Feb 28, Wong had said that the PAC had the right to issue a warrant of arrest to anybody who failed to turn up for the meeting.