Govt need to allow parliamentary committee meetings for checks and balances

By S. Harrish

THE government should at least allow the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and all Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to function and provide necessary bi-partisan oversight during this unprecedented period where parliament has been suspended.

In a joint statement, the PAC chief Wong Kah Woh and PSC chief Kelvin Yii said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin should allow this, if he was so concerned about certain quarters “playing politics”.

They said the RM11bil “Pemerkasa stimulus package” showed greater urgency for both PAC and PSC to be allowed to function to provide scrutiny and, checks and balances.

Dr Kelvin Yii

“During such pandemic, where billions of public funds are being used, it is of utmost importance that all matters, procedures and financial procedures of the country are complied with, so that people’s money is spent prudently and efficiently.”

They said the PSC must also be allowed to convene to provide important parliamentary oversight especially over the country’s approach towards Covid-19.

“If the government is so confident of its Covid-19 management, it must not be afraid to be accountable and release more data and face questions from MPs.”

They said there must be accountability for decisions and the data on which they are based must be clear and transparent.

“Failure to provide sufficient explanation of the data that underpins key decisions during Covid-19, will erode public trust which is what we are seeing now in our country.”

They also called Speaker Datuk Azhar Harun to also make the same stand and defend the sanctity of the parliament and also the principles of separation of powers.