THE Public Accounts Committee (PAC) as a bipartisan, independent institution accountable to Parliament should take the lead on investigations into the alleged misappropriation of government funds during the Perikatan Nasional (PN)-led administration, said an anti-graft group.
In a statement today, the Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4 Centre) said any investigations into the matter must take place transparently, and owing to the gravity of the situation, must not “take place behind closed doors”.
“The current administration must provide details of the relevant institution that is leading investigations,” it said.
“Progress reports must be made publicly available and accessible, and given a tentative timeline that outlines when the investigations are expected to be completed and when the findings can be presented to the public, of which must also be tabled in Parliament.”
The previous PN administration led by former prime minister Tan Sri Muyiddin Yassin had been dogged by allegations of misappropriation of up to RM600 bil.
Muhyiddin has vehemently denied the allegations, citing them as politically motivated, or that this sum was the result of misattribution to financial schemes that did not actually involve government expenditure such as Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) withdrawals and loan moratoriums.
Anwar had since confirmed that the RM600 bil figure was mostly comprised of EPF withdrawals and loan moratorium as stated by Muhyiddin, but that there were still tens of billions spent that pointed towards impropriety.
Anwar further indicated that there were several important companies that had family ties to people in politics.
Additionally, matters regarding political financing were raised with Anwar stating earlier that money misappropriated by the previous administration went to “certain parties” for use during the 15th General Election (GE15).
On this matter, the C4 said these allegations, should they be found truthful, constitute “grievous abuse of power” and “abandonment of the mandate to serve the rakyat” by the previous administration.
“Crucially, this is not merely a matter of principle – if billions were misappropriated for self-enrichment or lost through leakages, that is billions in taxpayers’ money that was deprived from life-saving medical services and welfare programmes,” it said.
“This is especially heinous considering that Malaysians continue to be ravaged by a pandemic that killed thousands and plunged hundreds of thousands more into economic insecurity.
“While the Prime Minister has announced that the matter was passed to the relevant authorities and has since provided assurance that investigations are underway, the current administration can and must go further.” – Dec 6, 2022