Selcat must be replaced by committee of eminent persons: PAS commissioner

(The Star) SHAH ALAM: Selangor PAS commissioner Datuk Dr Hasan Ali wants the state’s watchdog Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat) be replaced with an independent committee of eminent persons without political inclinations.

“Our aim is to restore confidence among the public and there is a need for an independent committee to probe into the misused state allocations.

“But there is an oversight in the formation of Selcat, as it is simply not seen as independent, all because the seven panel members are politicians.

“I want to maintain that I am supportive of Selcat, but we need to refine it, as I am a little saddened by the manner in which the inquiries are being carried out in regards to civil servants,” he said.

Dr Hasan said his demands for an independent inquiry was valid as he expressed dissatisfaction against Selcat’s hard questioning tactics when government officers were called in for public hearing.

“We can’t have a panel that chooses to pound district officers with questions with the aim of milking a statement.

“It is unacceptable and abhorrent. No one should engage, collude or condone such methods of investigation.

“So, for this we must have a panel of ex-judges, Justice of Peace and ex-secretary generals to protect the spirit of such a panel,” he said.

Dr Hasan has also called for the Selcat session on Oct 21 to 26 to be frozen until the matter is resolved as he claimed that there could be a boycott from those summoned for the hearing.

On Saturday, the Klang district officer Bakhtiar Husin had accused Selcat of creating a political drama and bringing shame upon him in an inquiry into misused state allocations just before the last general elections, thus pulling in Dr Hasan to fight his cause.

Bakhtiar said the manner the investigation was done and the reports in the media had tarnished his image.

On Sept 9, Bakhtiar and his officers were queried on the RM4 mil annual allocation for Barisan Nasional constituencies within the district that was used within Jan-Feb of 2008.

Dr Hasan said the district officers, council presidents and top administrative officers in the states administration complained that they were being questioned for decisions made by ex-politicians and treated like school kids.

“We must not victimise the district officers in our quest to find the truth for they have served the government of the day and now most of them are aligned to Selangor-led Pakatan government.

“We must not create bad blood that will have a ripple effect with 23,000 other civil servants in the state,” he said.

Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, who spoke at his Hari Raya open house, said he would ensure no one felt slighted but asserted that the public had the right to know Selcat’s findings.

“We can’t undermine Selcat with an independent group as it is not within the framework of the legislative assembly,” he said.

Selcat chairman Teng Chang Khim said he was surprised that Dr Hasan was so ignorant about parliamentary practices.

“He (Dr Hasan) must understand that the Selcat was created and empowered by the legislative assembly.

“There has been no parliamentary practice in Commonwealth countries for select committee made up of ex-judges,” he said.

Teng added that the Oct 21 Selcat sessions will go on as planned.

“We can’t clamp down on Selcat as the public has the right to know.

“The public are now aware that we are on par with other countries in the practice of running a transparent government,” he said.