by Lee Shi-Ian
Barisan Nasional's rhetoric of increasing transparency and accountability has been rubbished after its assemblymen in Selangor refused to accept the position of Public Accounts Committee Chairman for the second consecutive term.
Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua (pic) said the Barisan National (BN) state assemblymen in Selangor were abdicating their duties to the people to act as an effective opposition and check and balance the Pakatan Rakyat state government.
In a statement, Pua said the unconditional offer to chair the Public Account Committee (PAC) was offered to Datuk Mohd Shamsuddin Lias. But the latter turned down the offer and gave the excuse that the PR offer was politically-motivated.
"It beggars belief that the BN makes all sorts of wild allegations against the Selangor state government but refuses to accept the PAC chairmanship when it is offered on a silver platter," Pua said, highlighting the fact that the PAC chairman had a lot of powers.
"The chairman of the PAC is able to set the agenda for the PAC meetings, review alleged misconduct and controversies, secure all relevant documents and interview any officer involved including State Executive Councillors," he said.
Pua said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak appeared unable to live down the fact that a PR government was prepared to accept a BN PAC chairman, which he seemed not to be able to practice what he preached in Parliament.
"Najib obviously fears a Pakatan-led PAC in Parliament which will be more proactive and meticulous in uncovering various abuses, scandals and corruptions in his government. He is not serious about walking the talk in fighting corruption and abuse of power."
Pua challenged Najib to not only accept the PAC chairmanship in Selangor but to also offer the Parliament's PAC chairmanship to Pakatan Rakyat. He said the Ministers in charge of the Government Transformation Programme (GTP), Datuk Idris Jala and Datuk Paul Low, should play their part as well.
"Najib must realise, if he doesn't already know, that he has lost the trust of 51 per cent of the people during the last general election. This is mainly due to a poor record in transparency and accountability and by offering the PAC chairmanship to PR, he can prove he is serious about fighting corruption and abuse of power."
Pua said regardless of whether the Parliament's PAC chairmanship was offered to PR, Najib should at the very least instruct Shamsuddin to accept the Selangor state assembly’s PAC chairmanship, to act its role as a responsible opposition in ensuring transparency and accountability.
"Pakatan Rakyat finds it completely inexplicable why BN is rejecting the chairmanship of the Selangor PAC for a second term. Unless, of course, they do not actually want to endorse the practice of transparency and accountability."
Despite BN going on and on about GTP to increase transparency and accountability, the BN government led by Najib has consistently refused to accept the first world parliamentary best practice of an opposition leader leading the PAC.
Hence, even though the unconditional offer of the PAC chairmanship is to promote first world legislative assemblies, Najib has instructed that the position not be accepted because it will make him look bad in Parliament.
The rakyat will be able to tell that PR governments practice what we preach, while the BN government led by the PM is only good with the song and dance, with no earnest effort in making real transformation. - July 6, 2013.