PAC chairman: Law Minister should be aware committee cannot function during Emergency

PETALING JAYA: Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman Wong Kah Woh has taken issue with a statement by Law Minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan over the PAC's continuing role during the current Emergency.

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

“The 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, ” he said in a statement on Monday (April 26).

Wong, who is also Ipoh Timur MP, said the Emergency had effectively put a stop to PAC proceedings and of the PSCs.

He said both he and Bandar Kuching MP Kelvin Yii, who chairs Parliament's Health, Science and Innovation select committee, made an open call to Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun on March 18 to allow the PAC and PSC to meet but it went unheeded.

“The PAC will not allow its name to be used by Takiyuddin to create a perception that the government ‘has nothing to hide’, ” Wong added.

Earlier on Monday (April 26), Takiyuddin, in a statement, gave an assurance that Parliament will reconvene at a suitable time, either before or after the state of emergency is lifted on Aug 1.

The Minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of Parliament and Law said the current focus is on addressing the Covid-19 pandemic.

Takiyuddin said there should be "no suspicion or distrust about abuse of power" during the emergency period as the government system is functioning, and this included the administrative monitoring aspect by relevant authorities.

He said these authorities include the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), the National Audit Department, and the PAC.

On Sunday (April 25), the Umno supreme council called on the Perikatan Nasional government to allow Parliament to reconvene.

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