PETALING JAYA: Former de facto law minister Azalina Othman Said has criticised current law minister Takiyuddin Hassan over his remarks on Parliament, and checks and balances during the emergency.
This comes after Takiyuddin said that despite the suspension of Parliament, the various parties, including the opposition, could channel their views to the government through other platforms, including the Independent Special Committee on Emergency.
He also said the authorities, including the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the National Audit Department and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), continued to provide checks and balances.
In a statement today, Azalina, who is the Pengerang MP, said Takiyuddin’s statement appeared to equate the special committee to Parliament.
“Parliament is the highest legislative body for the federal government to pass and amend federal laws, check and question government policies through oral sessions, the Special Chamber, Minister’s Question Time, and also pass the budget and new taxes.
“The special committee is only responsible for advising the King on whether the emergency should continue.”
She said if Takiyuddin felt the special committee can replace the role and functions of Parliament, it would be better to set up another committee, comprising MPs and chaired by the Dewan Rakyat speaker.
Azalina, who is also the Dewan Rakyat’s deputy speaker, said even if views could be aired to the government through the special committee, its terms of reference should be amended to allow for it.
“MPs and the people do not have access to the special committee’s meeting proceedings,” she said, adding the committee does not carry out investigations or inquiries.
She also questioned how Takiyuddin could say that the government system is functioning as usual when the Cabinet does not need to answer to Parliament.
Azalina also said she could understand why PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh had questioned how the body could play its role when it could not convene during the emergency.
“Does Takiyuddin’s statement supersede the provisions of the law given by the attorney-general and does this mean PAC activities can now continue?” she asked.