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More complications in Perak

IPOH, 5 March 2009: Newly appointed Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir did not attend the Perak Public Accounts Committee (PAC) meeting held at the state treasury’s meeting room in the Perak Darul Ridzuan building here at 4pm today.

Instead, only embattled Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin turned up for the meeting, which seeks to determine which of the two menteris besar and their executive councillors (excos) should receive their salaries and allowances.

Zambry, in a statement circulated to the media at 5.10pm, stressed that he did not attend the inquiry because it was against the principles of natural justice as the PAC chairperson Wong Kah Woh had lodged a complaint against him to the state assembly’s Rights and Privileges Committee.

That committee, which met on 18 Feb, suspended Zambry and six of his excos following Wong’s complaint.

“This will cause issues of prejudice to arise. I am also questioning the legality of the inquiry based on Erskine May Parliamentary Practice, 23rd Edition,” Zambry said in the statement.

He said Erskine May Parliamentary Practice clearly stated: “The Committee of Public Accounts does not have power to sit when the House is adjourned, although it does have power to travel.”

Erskine May’s Parliamentary Practice is a procedural authority providing a complete description of the rules, practices and precedents in the UK’s House of Commons at Westminster.

The original edition was prepared in 1844 by Sir Thomas Erskine May, Clerk of the British House.

“As the state assembly is not in session, it is my belief that the PAC has no powers to convene any meeting,” Zambry said.

According to Zambry, the letter issued to him by the PAC was also misleading as he was asked to attend the meeting at 4pm on “Thursday, 3 March”, when in fact, Thursday was 5 March.

“The PAC must take into consideration the things I have mentioned,” he said.

Disappointed

Wong, in his press conference after the meeting, said he was disappointed and regretted the absence of Zambry, state secretary Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Hashim, state legal adviser Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid and state financial officer Datuk Jamaluddin Al Amini Ahmad at the meeting.

He said a new notice would be issued to Zambry and the three senior officers to present themselves at the PAC’s next meeting at 3pm on 13 March.

Asked about Zambry claiming the meeting was against the principles of natural justice, Wong said the PAC was not looking to find faults on the part of anyone and was only carrying out its duties in an independent and professional manner.

Besides Wong, who is also the DAP assemblyperson for Canning, the other members of the PAC are Mohd Anuar Sudin (PAS-Changkat Jong), S Kesavan (PKR-Hutan Melintang), Leong Mee Meng (DAP-Jalong) and Yee Seu Kai (DAP-Pokok Assam).

The Barisan Nasional members in it were Zambry himself (deputy chairperson) and Manong assemblyperson Datuk Ramly Zahari, who is also an exco.

However, their memberships have been nullified because PAC members can only be made up of assemblypersons and not the menteri besar or excos. — Bernama

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