IPOH, Nov 26 ― The awaited state Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearing that called in Datuk Seri Zambry Abd Kadir did not proceed after the former Perak mentri besar stormed out before it began.
Zambry, who arrived at the State Secretariat Building at about 10.10am with former MBInc chief executive officer Datuk Aminuddin Hashim, reiterated the hearing should not be held in public.
“I will not answer any questions from the committee in public as it runs against convention,” he said before leaving in a huff despite warnings from chairman Leong Cheok Keng that the Pangkor assemblyman could be cited for contempt.
Earlier, Zambry also questioned the logic of Leong’s directive for the former MB to furnish the committee with the accounts of MBInc since its formation.
Noting that MBInc was established in 1951, he asked how he would be able to produce documents from before he was even born.
“Lest the committee members have forgotten, I am no longer the mentri besar hence I do not have the executive power to take out the accounts that are classified as Official Secret Act. If I do take out, I can be charged under the Act,” he added.
He went on to ask what he was being summoned over, saying the sequence of events appeared to buck conventions.
The lawmaker added that such hearings were generally convened only after discrepancies or issues were discovered by the National Audit Department’s annual reports.
He also said there was nothing in the state assembly’s standing orders that say PAC hearings should be held in public, noting that same committee at the parliamentary level did not do so.
Zambry said it would set a bad precedent if he answered the PAC in a public setting.
In response, Leong said the committee waived the need for Zambry to bring documents related to MBInc.
“The hearing will be held based on questions and answers,” he said.
Leong explained that Zambry was summoned as he was the former chief executive of the state and chairman of MBInc.
“If we do not call Datuk Seri, who else should we call?” he asked, reiterating that Zambry was summoned as a witness and not being investigated per se.
“You are helping us in an investigation. To start the ball rolling, we have to call somebody first,” he said. “If everyone declines, where do we start?”
On Zambry's insistence that the hearing be held behind closed doors, Leong conceded that the standing orders were silent on the matter.