Federal audit on 1MDB will go to Parliament ‘sooner or later’, ex-PAC man says

Umno’s Kepala Batas MP Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican. — Picture by K.E. Ooi
Umno’s Kepala Batas MP Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican. — Picture by K.E. Ooi

KUALA LUMPUR, March 5 — The details of a classified government audit report on state-owned 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) will surface “sooner or later” when the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) tables its findings in Parliament, Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican sought to assure Malaysians today.

The Kepala Batas MP, a former member of the PAC, played down the significance of the unprecedented decision to place the Federal Audit Department’s final report on 1MDB under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) yesterday.

“I don’t know the reason, but to me, they cannot hide it completely. Sooner or later, it will go to Parliament,” he told reporters after an event at the International Islamic University here today.

Reezal, now deputy minister of foreign affairs, was asked to comment on the government’s decision yesterday to seal the final federal audit report as confidential.

The move has drawn criticism from federal opposition lawmakers who called out Putrajaya for making an about-turn on its transparency pledge on 1MDB.

PAC chairman Datuk Hasan Arifin confirmed the final audit report has been put under OSA, and said the Federal Audit Department sought to classify it so after its preliminary report was leaked to the media after it was tabled before the panel last year.

Reezal affirmed the leak incidents, saying information confidential to the PAC was surreptitiously disclosed to the public despite a gag order, but declined to name anyone he purported to have breached the convention.

The Umno lawmaker urged the people to put their faith in the PAC’s independence and transparency.

“PAC is not something that you have to have doubt… what I’m trying to say is it’s unlikely for any cover up to happen in PAC. But the process of investigation needs to be protected,” he said.

The PAC comprises lawmakers from both sides of the political divide to act as check-and-balance.

The PAC is expected to prepare its own report to be presented to the Dewan Rakyat in the next sitting which starts Monday.

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