PAC is not a game of Pacman

The prosecutors finally screwed up the courage to charge four people for the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project over the past week, thanks to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) recommendations that enough evidence exists to take some people to court.

The main person thus far is the former general manager of the Port Klang Authority, Datin Paduka OC Phang, and several officials from PKFZ contractor Kuala Dimensi Sdn Bhd (KDSB) and one architect.

It shouldn’t stop there. I suspect the investigations will continue beyond the current prosecutions in view of the large discrepancy in the payments made to KDSB as the contractor to the PKFZ.

The Barisan Nasional government has no choice in the matter as its credibility hangs on the PKFZ issue if it wants to be re-elected in the next general election.

This is where the PAC comes in to review and recommend action like the PKFZ scandal.

It has been a busy year for the PAC and I expect the pace of activity to escalate as we go through the Auditor-General’s report and investigate the many issues highlighted by the report.

However, as a member of the PAC and the sole member of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) in the Parliament, I would like to caution the public on its high expectations of the PAC to uncover future incidents of wrongdoing as in the case of PKFZ.

The PAC is in effect the audit committee for the Parliament and acts as a check on government expenditure, which while well-formulated suffers from implementation issues and possible malfeasance by those entrusted with fiscal probity and prudence.