Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary- General and MP for Petaling, Lim Kit Siang, at the Malacca State DAP Committee meeting at Malacca DAP premises on Friday, 2nd Oct. 1981 at 8 p.m.
DAP refers PAC Chairman, Datuk Lee Boon Peng to Dewan Rakyat Speaker for reference to Privileges Committee for breach of privilege.
Last Tuesday, the Speaker of Dewan Rakyat, Tan Sri Syed Nasir Islmail, warned to refrain from making any press statements pertaining to its work as it is against the House Standing Orders.
The Speaker referred to the Dewan Rakyat Standing Order 85 which states that “The evidence taken before any Committee and any documents presented to such Committee shall not be published by any member or such Report to the House.”
The Speaker is right in warning the PAC, and in particular the PAC Chairman, Datuk Lee Boon Peng, from further breaching Standing Order 85. The warning, though timely, was too late, for since the sitting of the PAC on Sept. 2 to examine the Auditor- General’s report into the 1977 Federal Government Accounts, the PAC Chairman, Datuk Lee Boon Peng, had violated standing Order 85 for almost every day of the sitting until the warning was given by the Speaker on Sept.29.
Datuk Lee Boon Peng had therefore been guilty of breach of Standing Order 85 many many times over. I am therefore invoking Standing Order 80(2) to a refer Datuk Lee Boon Peng to the Committee or Privileges. Standing Order 80(2) readers.
“Whenever the House is not sitting a member may bring an alleged breach of privilege to the notice of Tuan Yang di-Pertua who may, if he is satisfied that a prime facie breach of privilege has been committed, refer such matter to the Committee, which shall report thereon to the House.”
I am therefore writing officially to the Speaker under S.O.80 (2).
Tragedy of a PAC Chairman who does not know his function, role, responsibilities and even jurisdictional scope.
Datuk Lee Boon Peng has again shown how ignorant he is about his function, role, responsibility and even jurisdictional scope as a PAC Chairman.
Datuk Lee Boon Peng has shown he lack basic knowledge of his duties when he said two months ago that the PAC would examine and present its report on the Auditor- General’s Report on the 1977 Federal Government Accounts to the Prime Minister, when it should be to Parliament. This mistake should not be made even by an ordinary freshman MP, Not to mention a senior Parliamentary leader like the PAC Chairman.
The way Datuk Lee is passing the buck in the examination of the Auditor-General’s Report also shows his total unfitness to be the Chairman of the PAC, if the PAC is to perform its role effectively to ensure meaningful accountability of public spending to Parliament and the people.
In other Commonwealth Parliament, a PAC Chairman who had shown himself so inept and unfit for the responsibility of a senior Parliamentary position would have gracefully resigned his post. Datuk Lee’s failures as a PAC Chairman includes his refusal to gracefully resign as PAC Chairman, but his stubborn clinging to the post despite his ‘bungling’ and ‘blundering’ record.
At a time when there is a new awareness and concern about imposing strict public accountability of public expenditure of the taxpayers/ money, the PAC must rise up to the occasion to be the people’s direct guardian over financial irregularities, improprieties and malpractices.
It is the PAC Chairman who provides the leadership to the Public Accounts Committee. If the leader is direction-less, and what is worse, does not know what are his powers, functions, responsibilities and jurisdictional scope, then the PAC cannot be an effective part of the system of check and control on public expenditures.
For the interest of the PAC, Parliament and the new awareness of strict public accountability of public expenditures, Datuk Lee should resign without any more ado.
In his stead, the Government must be prepared to appoint an Opposition Member as Chairman of PAC, to ensure that Pac’s role will be effectively discharged, where the PAC acts on the advice of the Auditor- General with a force and personality of its own, and not merely be a puppet of the Auditor-General because of the total dependence of the PAC Chairman on the Auditor-General for direction, leadership, judgement, conclusion and even the Report of the PAC itself.