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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 — Selangor Umno wasted an opportunity to buttress the party’s weakness in the state when its opposition leader stepped down after refusing to chair the Selangor Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Parliament’s PAC chief Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said today.
Nur Jazlan, who is also from Umno, told Datuk Shamsudin Lias that it was an “honour” to be appointed chairman of the Selangor PAC, after Shamsudin complained about Pakatan Rakyat (PR) comprising majority of the seven-seat committee and subsequently quit as Selangor opposition leader.
“It's a silly thing to do because it's an opportunity for Umno Selangor to unearth any wrongdoing by the Selangor government and to be factual about it, instead of making wild unsubstantiated allegations in public,” Nur Jazlan told Malay Mail Online.
“This is the perfect opportunity for Shamsudin to gain a good reputation with the people and to bring back credibility to Selangor Umno which is very low today,” he added.
Nur Jazlan also said the composition of the Selangor PAC, which reflects the PR-majority proportion of the state’s legislative assembly, does not matter because decisions in the committee are made by consensus.
“It’s a test of your ability as chairman of the committee to get the consensus.”
He also stressed that PAC members are supposed to disregard party lines.
“It’s not about getting political points. It’s making sure that public money is spent properly and that the budget is accountable.
“What is right is right, what is wrong is wrong. You just do your job without considering party affiliation,” said Nur Jazlan.
Selangor Legislative Assembly Speaker Hannah Yeoh said yesterday that the amendment of the assembly’s Standing Orders, which required that the Selangor PAC be led by the Barisan Nasional (BN) opposition head, was made to adopt the “best practices” of other Commonwealth nations.
Political analyst Ibrahim Suffian from Merdeka Centre said Shamsudin’s resignation was “regrettable” because it gave the impression that he was not willing to rise above partisan politics and play a more constructive opposition role in the country’s wealthiest state governed by PR.
“Selangor assembly order that opposition leader be the PAC chair is certainly a step in the right direction. Signals that they are serious about improving governance,” Ibrahim told Malay Mail Online.
Political analyst Wan Saiful Wan Jan from the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) said, however, that Shamsudin’s demand for BN to make up the majority of the Selangor PAC was “understandable” though it was not common practice, claiming that lawmakers on both sides of the divide rarely stepped outside party lines.
“You look at UK, Australia, as soon as they're elected into the PAC, they will behave independently. They're not independent from their parties, but they will check and balance the administration even though the administration is led by their own party. So their attitude is different,” Wan Saiful told Malay Mail Online.
“Hannah Yeoh is supposed to be an impartial Speaker, but she keeps making statements attacking Umno. If you look at the attitude of other Pakatan ‘aduns’, what's the point of having a BN chairman?” he added, using the Malay word for “assemblyman”.