Home Civil Society Voices Auditor general’s report: PN reduces parliamentary democracy to a farce – C4

Auditor general’s report: PN reduces parliamentary democracy to a farce – C4

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During a sitting of the House of Representatives on 6 June, the opposition bloc comprising politicians from the Perikatan Nasional coalition, unanimously and vehemently protested against a debate on the Auditor General’s Report 2021 Series 2 in Parliament.

While Speaker Johari Abdul moved forward with the motion to allow the report to be debated, none of the opposition politicians was present in the House of Representatives for the debate in a shameful display of irresponsibility.

The Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4 Center) condemns the actions of politicians to stifle discussion on a report instrumental in highlighting potential wastage and leaks in government expenditure, as well as reiterates its stance that the auditor general’s reports must be subject to parliamentary scrutiny and debate.

The actions of PN politicians in completely being opposed to the debating of the auditor general’s report arouses suspicion. The report would cover expenses made during PN’s time in government and would reveal any possible financial mismanagement or leakages under its leadership.

Suspicions of financial mismanagement by PN have become much more substantiated since the “unity government” under Pakatan Harapan took office in November 2022. Allegations and investigations into Bersatu’s misappropriation of millions of ringgit intended for Covid financial aid, as well as Pas’ alleged political funding by way of gambling revenue have emerged.

These matters are under active investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), with multiple arrests having been made in connection with these allegations, proving that they are more than just rumours and hence must be looked into further.

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The disproportionately exaggerated reaction by PN politicians indicates that their time in office could have been marked by instances of corruption and self-enrichment, exacerbated by the fact that the Covid pandemic had essentially provided an avenue for politicians to use government funds for ostensibly “emergency procurement”.

It is disappointing but also telling that PN politicians, despite being elected officials, refuse to be answerable in any way to Parliament and by extension, the people who elected them into power.

A part of Speaker Johari’s rationale in allowing the debate to take place was that Mas Ermieyati, chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee, was present, as were other members of the committee as well. Their refusal to participate in the debate, even within their capacities as committee members clearly demonstrates their willingness to shirk their duties by prioritising party politics above matters of public interest.

On the issue of the Public Accounts Committee, Takiyuddin Hassan was of the opinion that the report had been thoroughly vetted by the committee and further debate would only waste the time of the House of Representatives.

This is a non-issue that can easily be overcome by selecting only the most egregious and glaring examples of financial mismanagement that would warrant debate in the house due to its gravity.

However, Mas Ermieyati said the report fell under the purview of the Public Accounts Committee and not Parliament. She added that the house should be debating reports produced by the committee on the matter instead of those directly from the auditor general’s office.

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However, this raises a key question: why was the PN bloc so opposed to debating the auditor general’s report when the committee had already vetted it itself under the leadership of its chair, Mas Ermieyati?

Mas Ermieyati added that the government would be better off heeding a call for Public Accounts Committee sessions to be made public, as they are currently all private.

In response to these statements, C4 Center would like to remind the opposition that increased transparency into institutional mechanisms where it concerns the public interest is paramount in advancing good governance. The committee, while having the benefit of greater independence as it is governed by Parliament, still produces reports which are largely not publicised.

As the opposition bloc, PN is supposed to be duty-bound to ensure that governance, especially in the government’s management and record-keeping of finances is up to par. It is concerning that PN’s priorities seem to lie in manoeuvring around oversight mechanisms and attempting to minimise the involvement of Parliament and democratically elected officials in the scrutiny of government expenditure.

It is also worth noting that since the fracas in the House of Representives yesterday, PN representatives have provided a multitude of reasons why they refused to participate in the debate.

PN is very clearly grasping at straws, using as many excuses as it can to conceal the fact that they simply did not wish to publicly confront the findings laid out in the auditor general’s report.

With all that has been said, C4 Center urges for the following:

  • The government must amend the standing orders to formalise the debate of the auditor general’s reports as part of the House of Representatives sittings
  • The government must also make all Public Accounts Committee sessions publicly available and accessible for viewing
  • Parliament must retable the motion on debating the auditor general’s report, and PN politicians, including former ministers, must be in attendance to justify or provide explanations for the major findings of the report with regard to their past ministries.
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Center to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4 Center)

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
  1. Tegakkan maruah serta kualiti kehidupan rakyat
  2. Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
  3. Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
  4. Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
  5. Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
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Gursharan Singh
Gursharan Singh
8 Jun 2023 12.03pm

Emergency situations [incl. created] provide golden opportunities for those in postions of power/decion making to take advantage to enrich ownseff-families-friends via any means including
MISMANAGEMENT-FRAUD-CORRUPTION-COLLUSION-CRONYISM-EMBEZZELMENT-BRIBRY-KICKBACKS-NEPOTISM.
Some Aud-Gen findings cases are highlighted and MACC investigated or by PAC YB elected reps at Federa-State-Authorities levels. Little is known of the conclusion.

SUGGEST YBs LIST UNSOLVED OUTSTANDING AUD-GEN FINDINGS TO MONITOR THEM. MEDIA HAS AN IMPORTANT ROLE TO PLAY BY PUBLISHING SO THAT THE RAKYAT CAN ALSO MONITOR.

TRANSPARENCY & ACCOUNTABILITY SHOULD NOT BE SLOGANS.

[Views based on personal over 37 years audit experience]

Bless all

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