‘Improved Perak PAC needed to boost authority’

Stately matters: A view inside the Perak state assembly while it was in session. — RONNIE CHIN/The Star

THE Perak Public Accounts Committee (PAC) should be reformed and empowered in dealing with issues under its jurisdiction effectively, says chairman Datuk Zainol Fadzi Paharudin.

He said the state government via the august House should amend the standing order related to the Perak PAC so that it will be on par with the Parliament committee.

The Sungai Manik assemblyman from Bersatu said this was necessary to ensure that the committee had better authority and played an effective role.

“After visiting the committee in Parliament on Feb 15, I found that the PAC in Perak needed a review.

“There is a need to amend the standing order on PAC.

“I feel that in Perak, it has been very long since amendments to the enactment in relation to the PAC have been made.

“It is time to do so because other states have started to adhere to the amendments made in Parliament on the committee, but Perak has yet to do so,” he told a press conference on the sidelines of the state assembly sitting in Ipoh yesterday.

Earlier, he had raised the matter during his debate on the motion of thanks to the Royal Address.

Citing an example, Zainol Fadzi said when the PAC calls any department or agency, some of them do not take it seriously and will not turn up, as they know the committee cannot take action.

“But in Parliament it is different; the committee will issue a notice, and after the stipulated time, if the parties do not turn up, a certain amount of fine will be imposed,’’ he added.

He also said the intention of the Perak PAC to call the relevant parties as witnesses to any issues raised was not because it finds them guilty.

“The PAC’s intention is not to put the blame on anyone, but the parties are called when a doubt is raised by the Audit Department.

“All we want are answers and to make improvements; not to punish anyone. We are not an enforcement agency.

“But certain people misunderstand this, as they feel that whenever PAC calls them, it means that they are already in the wrong,” he added.

Zainol Fadzi said he hoped after highlighting the issue, the state government would take steps to make improvements to the state PAC.

“This is important as the scope of the PAC is to ensure that the plans by the state government are carried out to their best, accor- ding to the funds allocated,” he added.

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