By AZIS KHAN
KOTA KINABALU: Democratic Action Party (DAP) Member of Parliament for Kota Kinabalu Chan Foong Hin today applauded the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Sabah State Legislative Assembly for their report in summoning state ministries and agencies over unresolved issues.
“I have to say that the transparency by the state assembly’s PAC is unprecedented in the entire history of the Sabah State Assembly. It’s the first time ever that the PAC in Sabah reported to the public through a press conference. Kudos to Abidin (Madingkir) and the team,” said Chan.
Chan, who was also formerly Sabah state assemblyman for Sri Tanjong between 2013 and 2018, noted that during his tenure as a state assemblyman, the PAC had been relatively ineffective as the PAC had consisted mainly of assemblypersons from the same party as the Chief Minister (i.e. Barisan Nasional), and that meeting outcomes and/or reports had been kept under wraps so as not to embarrass the state government of the day.
“The practice in Sabah historically is that the legislature acted more like a rubber stamp of the executive. This is not supposed to happen as the legislature should not subservient to the executive, and there should be separation of powers,” said Chan.
Chan noted that it is important that a proper check-and-balance mechanism be put in place to strengthen the legislature to oversee the executive so as to improve accountability in a government, and that one way of doing this is through the establishment of select committees in a legislature.
“Select committees like the PAC has the power to summon officers from state government agencies, statutory bodies, government-linked companies and any associated bodies that the state government has authority over, and those summoned has to attend and respond to the inquiries, failing which it may amount to contempt of the legislature,” said Chan.
Chan further suggested that after completing the hearings and investigations, a report ought to be tabled at the legislative assembly if there are issues that need the attention of the state assembly. The reports tabled can be debated and be put to a vote.
“All the committee reports should also be uploaded to the Sabah State Legislative Assembly official website to ensure transparency,” said Chan.
The Sabah State Legislative Assembly PAC is currently chaired by Paginatan assemblyman Madingkir (UPKO). Other members include Pitas Assemblyman Datuk Bolkiah Ismail (Warisan), Kemabong Assemblyman Jamawi Jaafar (Warisan), Matunggong Assemblywoman Julita Majungki (PBS), Likas Assemblyman Tan Lee Fatt (DAP), Bingkor Assemblyman Robert Tawik (STAR), Lumadan Assemblyman Matbali Musah (PPBM) and Nominated Assemblyman Terrence Siambun (Warisan).
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