PAC chief asks law minister if he is trying to confuse the public
Public Accounts Committee chairman Wong Kah Woh speaks during a press conference at Parliament, Kuala Lumpur November 5, 2020. — Bernama pic

Subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest updates on news you need to know.

KUALA LUMPUR, April 26 — The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) proceedings have been suspended during the Emergency as per the Dewan Rakyat Speaker’s instructions, said PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh today.

Wong, who is also the Ipoh Timur MP, slammed the statement released by de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan today, in which he said there should be no doubt or suspicion of abuse of power by the government as the system was “functioning as usual”, including PAC.

“(Either) YB Takiyuddin Hassan was wrong, or he did not take into account the impact of the declaration of Emergency on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) as well as other Parliamentary Select Committees (PSC).

“PAC and PSC have been directed and informed by the Speaker of the House that no proceedings or meetings may be held during the period the sittings of the House of Representatives and the Senate are suspended. This in turn has resulted in PAC proceedings and meetings having to be stopped,” he said in a statement today.

Wong said his colleague from Bandar Kuching Dr Kelvin Yii, who chairs the PSC for Health, Science and Innovation, had on March 18 publicly called for the resumption of PAC and PSC meetings but the call was ignored by the government and the Dewan Rakyat Speaker.

“I want to ask whether YB Takiyuddin Hassan really does not know this or is trying to confuse the people out there?

“PAC will not allow its name to be used by YB Takiyuddin Hassan solely to give the perception that the government has nothing to hide,” he said.

Wong however said Takiyuddin’s statement does clearly acknowledge the need and importance of a monitoring mechanism, although this could not be done when PAC and PSC are crippled.

“I again urge the Dewan Rakyat Speaker to allow the PSCs to reconvene immediately to carry out their functions to monitor the government’s administration and finances especially on its expenses during the Emergency.

“At the same time, the government must allow Parliament to sit so that PAC can table our report in the interests of the people and nation,” he said.

Earlier today, Takiyuddin said that the government will continue to uphold its constitutional responsibilities and will reconvene Parliament after the current state of Emergency ends in August, or even before that.

In a statement, he said that all parliamentarians, including Opposition members, can send their queries, views or complaints to the government through the appropriate channels including the Special Independent Emergency Committee 2021 (SIEC).

“At the same time, it is not appropriate for any suspicion or doubts to be raised on the abuse of power because the government system is still functioning as usual, including monitoring of the administration by law enforcement authorities, especially the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, National Audit Department and Public Accounts Committee,’’ he said.