We cannot allow the politics of financial impropriety to take over the nation without standing up for our rights, integrity and democracy, WH Cheng writes.
Recently, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of parliamentary affairs Takiyuddin Hassan said the government is planning to table a motion in Parliament to appoint a select committee, which raises the question whether it is seeking to replace the present parliamentary select committees tasked with overseeing the government’s various activities, policies, their implementation, budgets and government-linked companies.
If these parliamentary select committees are abolished, the role of overseeing and checking on the government’s state of affairs could fall to a sole ineffective parliamentary select committee, which will oversee the portfolios of all the government ministries.
These are the parliamentary select committees now in place:
- Special Select Committee for Consideration of Bills
- Special Select Committee on Budget
- Special Select Committee on Defence and Home Affairs
- Special Select Committee on Gender Equality and Family Development
- Special Select Committee on States and Federal Relations
- Special Select Committee on Major Public Appointments
- Special Select Committee on Elections
- Special Select Committee on Human Rights and Constitutional Affairs
- Special Select Committee on International Relations and Trade
- Special Select Committee on Science, Innovation and Environment
- Public Accounts Committee
Any move to abolish these parliamentary select committees would mean denying parliamentary democracy and its role in providing oversight and scrutiny of government activities, policies and their implementation. It would mean letting all this go on without scrutiny, thus allowing the nation’s coffers to flow away like nobody’s business. It would be back to business for politicians who were notorious for corruption and the swindling of public funds.
The question is why is Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Bersatu doing all this – after all their earlier efforts in exposing corruption, abuse of power, mismanagement and other kinds wrongdoings until May 2018. Is it because Muhyiddin is willing to sacrifice integrity today due to his desire to remain in power until the end of the current parliament term?
Letting Umno and Pas MPs take the helm of most of the government-linked-companies, government-linked-investment-companies, statutory bodies, agencies and commissions is already raising grave public concern. Many are worried about the possibility of the return of the old days when abuse of power, financial impropriety and mismanagement ruled the day without checks and balances or any scrutiny.
And now to add oil into the fire, the government is planning to abolish all these parliamentary select committees to prevent any effective oversight or scrutiny on its upcoming wonders in government business.
We wonder what the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government’s next move will be? Will it eventually introduce laws to reduce parliamentary sittings, question time and its oversight roles? This is possible as the move to limit today’s Parliament sitting has set a precedent.
And before the end of this parliamentary term, will we see the National Security Council taking over the governance of our nation and moving the nation towards a collective dictatorship? Will PN (Bersatu, Umno, Pas) come up with a plan to nail Parliament into the coffin and move it into the grave for good?
We cannot dismiss this possibility. We cannot allow the politics of financial impropriety to take over the nation without standing up for our rights, integrity and democracy.
We must not be always carried away by the racial and religious bigotry expounded by Bersatu, Umno and Pas, which tend to split Malaysians of all ethnic backgrounds for political gain.
If we continue letting them manipulate ethnic and religious sentiment, raising tension and suspicion, the nation’s coffers could be emptied without us knowing it, drawing us closer to the brink of bankruptcy. By then, it could be too late to prevent the nation from sinking.