Members of Parliament from both sides of the House are in full support of the Speaker, Tan Sri Pandikar Aman Mulia to push for parliamentary reforms to eradicate Parliament’s negative image of “rubber stamp” of the Executive and to ensure separation of powers is in place.
The Speaker should not wait until next year to test out whether proposals for parliamentary reforms could be accepted and implemented by the Executive, as parliamentary reforms which meet immediate public needs should be carried out without any delay.
One such immediate parliamentary reform is for the Public Accounts Committee hearing particularly on the biggest scandal in the country – the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal – to be held in public and to bde televised live, as is the position of Dewan Rakyat proceedings.
DAP MP for PJ Utara, Tony Pua has reported from Malta where he attended the Fifth Westminster Workshop organised by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association for Public Accounts Committee that some three quarters of Commonwealth countries hold their Public Accounts Committee hearings in public today, in full presence of the media.
In fact, nearly all African Commonwealth Parliaments practised public hearings for their PACs.
It is a real shame that Malaysia, which claims itself to be more democratic and developed than the African Commonwealth nations, is actually more undemocratic and lacking in the basic principles of parliamentary accountability and good governance.
The Speaker is chairing a meeting tomorrow on parliamentary reforms and the DAP MP on the committee, Anthony Loke (Seremban), will propose that the Speaker agree to an urgent parliamentary motion to allow televised PAC hearings on 1MDB scandal as a first and immediate step to parliamentary reforms in Malaysia.
This is particularly pertinent and relevant for two reasons:
Firstly, there is no greater public interest issue in the country today than the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal; and
Secondly, the Minister for Youth and Sports, Khairy Jamaluddin said today that the government has no problem with televising of PAC’s hearings on 1MDB, as this is solely within the prerogative of the Speaker.
What then is Pandikar waiting for? The ball is in the Speaker’s court.