The twin scandals of 1MDB and the RM2.6 billion in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s personal bank accounts have led a new round of attacks on the independence, integrity and professionalism of key national institutions, including the Press, Parliament and the four key government agencies comprising Bank Negara Malaysia, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the police and the Attorney-General’s Chambers.
In Parliament, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) had been sabotaged from continuing with its investigations into 1MDB scandal simply because the PAC Chairman and three BN MPs on the PAC had been promoted Minister or Deputy Minister in the recent Cabinret reshuffle.
I am glad to see that the Chairman of the Barisan Nasional BackBenchers Club, Tan Sri Shahrir Samad has expressed support for a one-day special sitting of Parliament so that there would be no undue delay in continuing investigations into 1MDB.
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammudin Hussein has also publicly expressed support for a one-day special Parliament to fill the post of PAC Chairman.
However, they are thinking of a special one-day sitting of Parliament some time next month – which would cause inordinate and unjustifiable delay in allowing the new PAC Chairman to be appointed, and PAC to resume its investigations into 1MDB.
There is no reason why the special Parliament meeting could not be held this month before Merdeka Day celebrations as the some 75 Members of Parliament from DAP, PKR and Gerakan Harapan Baru stand in readiness to attend a special Parliamentary meeting for this purpose before August 31 – and there is no reason why Barisan Nasional Ministers and MPs are not prepared to have the Special Parliament to be held this month.
The Speaker has spoken about wanting a first-world Parliament, and in this spirit, Malaysia should practise what is the good parliamentary practice in the majority of Commonwealth Parliaments – appointing an Opposition MP to chair the PAC.
Is the Najib government prepared for such a parliamentary innovation and transformation?
The Cabinet meeting on Wednesday should decide on the convening of an Emergency Parliament before August 31 to appoint the new PAC Chairman.
(Media Conference Statement (2) at Penang DAP Hqrs at Jalan Rangoon, Penang on Monday, August 10, 2015 at 11 am)