New AG's marital ties to Umno politician should not be a factor: Tan Seng Giaw (Updated)

PETALING JAYA: Incoming Auditor General (AG) Tan Sri Madinah Mohamad's marital ties to an Umno politician should not be used to judge her ability to do her job impartially.

Public Accounts Committee vice-chairman Tan Seng Giaw said people should instead wait and see for themselves how Madinah will perform in her new post.

"She is a person of her own right with her own expertise. She is a woman of her own mind. If her husband is something else, that's on him.

"You judge her on her performance. The questions that should be asked are if she can bring the Auditor General's Department's (AGD) standards up to international level, and if she can carry out her duties fairly and effectively," Tan told theSun when contacted.

Tan, who is DAP's Kepong MP, said the most important thing is for Madinah to continue the good work by outgoing AG Tan Sri Ambrin Buang.

He said the AGD had already detected billions of ringgit in wastage and leakage throughout its various audits and these are only the government departments and agencies that are being scrutinised for the time being.

"This is only a few out of the government's 24 Ministries, imagine the whole country. We (PAC) want the AGD to identify the Ministries leaking the most, find out the causes, and how to stop further leakages," Tan said.

Similarly fellow PAC member Datuk Liang Teck Meng, who is the Gerakan representative in the PAC, said that Madinah should not be judged by her husband's links in Umno.

"People cannot see her from that angle alone. As long as she delivers her job neutrally and transparently.

"It is bad to judge her because of her Umno links. If she has connections to (former premier and Parti Pribumi Bersatu chairman) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad then how?" he asked.

PAC chairman Datuk Hasan Ariffin however when contacted refused to comment on the new appointment.

Madinah's appointment raised eyebrows when her husband was revealed to be Umno Kepong chief Datuk Rizuan Abd Hamid, who once declared he would die to defend Prime Minister and Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak.

United Nations Convention Against Corruption (Uncac) Coalition vice-chairman Loi Kheng Min acknowledge that Madinah's relationship with Rizuan "doesn't look good" but it is better to wait and see.

"In terms of transparency there is definitely a question mark. It doesn't look good when her spouse is such a strong politician but she should not be judged (by the relationship) for the moment," Loi said.

Loi pointed out that Ambrin, too, served as chief secretary of Selangor from 1999 to 2001, then as Education Ministry secretary general from 2001 to 2006, but he turned out to be an excellent AG.

Madinah will begin her tenure as AG on Feb 23 after Ambrin's 11-year stint ends on Feb 22.

She was formerly the secretary general of the Education Ministry, and also the former secretary general of the Science, Technology, and Innovation Ministry.