Speaker can move for PSC proceedings to be made public, says PAC chairman


PETALING JAYA: The Dewan Rakyat Speaker has the prerogative to enable proceedings to be publicly aired and it’s not true that Parliamentary Standing Orders don’t enable open proceedings, says Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman Wong Kah Woh.

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Azhar Azizan Harun had informed The Star on Sunday (Jan 16) that the upcoming Wednesday (Jan 19) assembly to focus on the share buying and selling controversy involving Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki wouldn’t be open to the general public.

According to Azhar, this was as a result of Parliamentary Standing Orders didn’t enable open proceedings, in addition to disclosure of witnesses, witness statements and contents of the proceedings till a report has been offered within the Dewan Rakyat.

In an announcement Monday (Jan 17), Wong claimed that as Speaker, Azhar has the prerogative to droop Parliamentary Standing Orders by referring the matter to MPs within the House, in accordance to Standing Order 90(2).

“With the suspension of Standing Order 85, any Parliamentary committee proceedings can be aired on-line and be opened to the general public,” he stated.

Standing Order 90(2) reads {that a} query on suspending any Standing Orders of the House can be proposed with the consent of the Speaker.

Standing Order 85 states that proof submitted earlier than any Parliamentary Select Committee shouldn’t be made public till a report on the matter has been tabled to the House.

Wong additionally took Azhar to job for saying that closed-door proceedings would guarantee cooperation from these concerned.

“Firstly, all witnesses are duty-bound to give full cooperation to the Committee and shall reply all questions raised throughout the proceedings.

“Secondly, any one that provides false solutions has not solely dedicated contempt of the House, however can be liable for an offence beneath Section 193 of the Penal Code as offered for in Section 20 of the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952.

“Thirdly, all of the notes of proceedings are recorded within the Hansard and can be printed along with the Committee’s report,” stated Wong.

While closed-door proceedings don’t assure a witness’ honesty, Wong stated it additionally didn’t imply that witnesses can keep away from telling the reality.

“It makes no distinction (to) the content material of the testimony, whether or not or not the continuing is closed or open,” he claimed.

Wong stated the goal of organising Parliamentary Select Committees for numerous issues was a critical move in the direction of reforming Parliament.

“Parliamentary reforms is not going to be full if we nonetheless maintain closed-door proceedings.

“The Parliamentary Standing Order Committee in 2019 has made the choice for all Parliamentary Committees’ proceedings be made public, and the {hardware} necessities for dwell proceedings are all prepared and in place on the Malaysia Parliament TV Channel,” he added.

Wong additionally requested why Azhar, as Speaker, appeared reluctant to have open proceedings.

“It is the general public’s proper to know that issues. It is a vital concern that includes a top-ranked officer (and) the integrity of MACC.

“It is time for the Speaker to make sure that all Parliamentary Committees can perform effectively and successfully to verify on the chief,” added Wong.

Azam is anticipated to be questioned by the Parliamentary Select Committee for Agencies beneath the Prime Minister’s Department on his involvement within the share buying and selling controversy on Wednesday (Jan 19).

The assembly will be held at 2pm in Parliament.

In explaining the problem on Jan 5, Azam stated his brother had borrowed his buying and selling account to purchase shares on the open market and financed the purchases on his personal.

It concerned substantial quantities of shares in Gets Global Bhd and Excel Force MSC Bhd between 2015 and 2016, when Azam was the MACC director of investigations.

Azam had stated he knowledgeable his superiors in regards to the transactions in 2015 and that he didn’t have any curiosity within the acquired shares. The shares had been later transferred to his brother’s account.

The similar clarification was given to the MACC’s anti-corruption advisory board (ACAB), when he was summoned to clarify the matter on Nov 24.

Azam had stated that he is not going to resign amid the controversy, saying the reality will be revealed when the time is true.

Azam additionally stated solely the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may determine to relieve him of his place as MACC chief commissioner.

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