THE Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman can only be appointed through a motion tabled by the government.
Sources said the decision to table the motion is the prerogative of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Till then, the PAC will function as usual despite the en masse resignation of opposition lawmakers from the committee on Monday.
A source said the meetings would go on as long as there was a quorum.
Standing Order 83(3) states that three members, including the chairman, are needed to make the quorum unless the House directs otherwise.
Out of the 12 PAC members, eight are from Pakatan Harapan, two from Barisan Nasional and one each from PAS and Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu.
The source said the Speaker had no right to rule that PAC chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee should step down, as the former’s powers as chairman of the selection committee are only limited to nominating members.
“This is in Standing Order 77 (2), which states that the committee shall consist of a chairman and vice-chairman to be appointed by the House, and not less than six and not more than 12 members to be nominated by the selection committee, soon after the beginning of each Parliament.
“The motion should be brought in by the government for the House to decide.
“The Prime Minister was right to say that Kiandee will remain the chairman until a suitable candidate is found,” said the source.
On Sunday, Dr Mahathir had said that it was not legally stipulated who should be the PAC chairman, and that it was only a promise
made by Pakatan to appoint an opposition MP as the PAC chief.
The source also said that while
it was the opposition’s right to resign en masse, the prerogative to submit a motion to replace the PAC chair remained with the Prime Minister.
“They (the opposition) can submit the names for a replacement PAC chief, but it is up to the Leader of the House – in this case, the Prime Minister – to accept it.
“So just because opposition MPs resign, it doesn’t automatically mean the House gets to decide who will replace the PAC chief.
“The motion to appoint a new PAC chief should come from the government,” added the source.
Meanwhile, Kiandee has made it clear that it is up to the Prime Minister to decide on his post and that he will abide by the decision.
Kiandee was the first opposition MP to chair the PAC when he was appointed in August last year while he was an Umno MP.
However, the Beluran lawmaker quit Umno and turned independent before joining Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia on March 15.
Calls for Kiandee to quit have become louder from not just opposition members but also Pakatan backbenchers.
PAC member Nurul Izzah Anwar also decided to step down last Friday.
On Saturday, Subang MP Wong Chen of PKR said PAC members had written to the Prime Minister, conveying their dissent about Kiandee remaining in the position.
Calls for Kiandee to step down also come from three deputy ministers, namely Steven Sim, Hannah Yeoh and Chong Chieng Jen.
On Sunday, Dr Mahathir said that Pakatan would stick to its promise and that Kiandee would remain PAC chairman until a suitable replacement was found.
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