Joint Media Statement by Senai Assemblywoman Wong Shu Qi, and Johor Jaya Assemblywoman Liow Cai Tung in Johor Bahru on 23rd June 2013 (Sunday):

Johor State Assembly should follow Selangor State Assembly’s footsteps in offering the position of PAC Chair to the Opposition Assemblyperson

We are glad to hear that Selangor state assembly will take the initiative to improve parliamentary democracy by offering the chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to the state opposition assemblyperson.

By initiating such a move, the Selangor State Assembly upholds not only the spirit of the Westminster Parliamentary system but also the principle of check-and-balance of the legislature and the executive.

We hereby call upon Johor State Assembly, which is the oldest among all the state assemblies in Malaysia, to follow Selangor’s footsteps in offering the position of PAC chair to an opposition assemblyperson.

The Public Accounts Committee is an important part of any state assembly to ensure the transparency and accountability of the state government’s financial operations. To appoint an assemblyperson from among the majority bloc to probe government irregularities and abuses is obviously a conflict of interest.

A PAC headed by an opposition assemblyperson is the usual practice in many countries. Our state assemblies and Parliament should not make up excuses when they do not conform to any particular practice of Westminster-style democracies.

We can foresee that the coming Johor assembly sitting will be very different from ones in the past seeing as Pakatan Rakyat now has 18 opposition assemblypersons although we have yet to break BN’s dominance due to its two-thirds majority.

However, with its historical legacy among the states, we truly believe that the Johor State Assembly can transform itself and take the lead in making Malaysia “the best democracy” internationally.

Wong Shu Qi & Liow Cai Tung