The failure of serving or retired civil servants to attend the proceeding of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is an offence in contempt of Parliament said the Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali.

In a statement today, he said the failure of any individual including serving or retired government officers in adhering to the order of PAC to attend its proceedings is an offence under Section 9 of the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952 (Act 347).

He said PAC has the power to summon any individual to be present or ask any individual to submit any letters, records or statements to PAC from time to time in line with Rule 77(5) of the Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders.

“In giving statement in PAC proceeding, any individual including serving or retired government officers are subject to the laws in force,” he said.

This includes the Official Secrets Act 1972 [Act 88], the Evidence Act 1950 [Act 56] and the Personal Data Protection Act 2010 [Act 709], and does not involve matters that are currently in court proceedings, he said.

Mohd Zuki said PAC chairman Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin's suggestion that a mechanism be created by the government so that all government officers and former government officers including security officers and the Ministry's secretary-general (KSU) obey the PAC's instructions to attend any PAC proceedings to give evidence, was taken into account.

He said every member of the public service who was called to the PAC proceedings was to give evidence, explanations or any information required for the proceedings and they were always ready to cooperate for that purpose.

For government officials who are currently serving, Mohd Zuki said a guideline "Giving Evidence to the Dewan Rakyat Select Committee: Guidelines for Public Officials" was approved by the Dewan Rakyat on March 21,2023 to provide clarification and guidance in giving evidence before any select committees in the Dewan Rakyat include the PAC.

Yesterday, Mas Ermieyati revealed that there were former KSU and former guard officers who refused to attend the PAC proceedings to give evidence on issues that arose when they were leading a ministry, department or government agency.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency