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Meeting with PM to ask for special four-day meeting of Parliament within the next 30 days to dispose of all outstanding parliamentary business, including the PAC report on the 2006 Auditor-General’s Report, so that they will not lapse when Parliament is dissolved in less than 70 days for the 12th general election

Media Statement         
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Parliament, Monday): I am asking for an urgent meeting with the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to propose that there should be a special four-day meeting of Parliament within the next 30 days to dispose of all outstanding parliamentary business so that they will not lapse when Parliament is dissolved in less than 70 days for the 12th general election to be held.

One important outstanding parliamentary business is the report of the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) into the 2006 Auditor-General’s Report, which had created a nation-wide furore when it was tabled in Parliament last September, exposing scandals including:

• payment of RM224 for a RM32 set of screwdrivers;
• paying RM1,146 for a set of pens costing RM160;
• paying RM5,700 for a car jack worth RM50;
• the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) paying RM5.59 million in advance to 4,183 students who did not apply for a loan; and .
• the largest single case of misuse of funds in the Report — the RM6.75 billion scandal of six Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPV) that have either not been delivered or not operational and the increase of their contract price twice from RM4.9 billion to RM6.75 billion or 38 percent.

MPs and Malaysians were assured last September that the PAC members would be going through the Auditor-General’s strictures of criminal breaches of trust and financial irregularities in his 2006 Report with a fine tooth comb and would be demanding full public accountability and responsibility.

If the 11th Parliament is now dissolved without the PAC completing and submitting its report, it will be a failure of parliamentary scrutiny and responsibility for the 11th Parliament and a terrible reflection on the record of the PAC Chairman, Datuk Shahrir Samad.

Parliament is now in adjournment and its next meeting is scheduled to begin on March 17, which will be officially opened by the Yang di Pertuan Agong for a 23-day meeting for the Dewan Rakyat till April 23, 2008.

If general election is held within the next 70 days, then the 11th Parliament will not be meeting again.

This is why the Prime Minister should convene a special four-day meeting of Parliament within the next 30 days so that the Malaysian Parliament will not become a laughing-stock of the world with a host of uncompleted parliamentary business, especially as Malaysia is to play host to Parliamentarians from Commonwealth countries in the Commonwealth Parliament Association annual conference to be held in Kuala Lumpur in September this year.

If Parliament is dissolved without a special meeting, the work of several Parliamentary Select Committees would also be aborted, wasting months and even years of public hearings and meetings, resources and money without any result.

The Malaysian Parliament will go into the Guinness Book of Records of setting up Parliamentary Select Committees which do not submit reports whatsoever!

This will be the case with three Parliamentary Select Committees, on National Unity and Integration, on Integrity and on a Code of Ethics for MPs, as all the three Select Committees would not be able to complete their work and submit their report and recommendations to Parliament if Parliament is dissolved without any other meeting.

This would mean that the months and years spent by the Parliamentary Select Committees on National Unity and on Integrity, holding public hearings in various parts of the country would all go down the drain as their life-span automatically terminates with the dissolution of Parliament.

The third Parliamentary Select Committee on Code of Ethics for MPs, which is headed by Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, had not really started its work although the resolution establishing it was passed by the Dewan Rakyat in May last year and it had its inaugural working meeting in June.

The Parliamentary Select Committee on Code of Ethics was set up because of the “One-Eye Closed” scandal of the MP for Jasin, while the recent sex DVD scandal forcing the resignation of Datuk Seri Dr. Chua Soi Lek as the Health Minister and Labis Member of Parliament have highlighted the relevance and importance this Select Committee. Parliament, the Select Committee on Code of Ethics for MPs and its Chairman, Najib, will all becoming laughing stocks if noting is produced by the Select Committee when Parliament is dissolved.

My office has contacted the Prime Minister’s Office to ask for an appointment for me to propose to the Prime Minister why it is imperative to have special four-day meeting of Parliament before any dissolution for the holding of the 12th general election - especially as the Prime Minister has expressed hopes of having a First-World Parliament.


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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