Malaysiakini YOURSAY | Minister’s snub of PSC makes mockery of Parliament


YOURSAY | Minister’s snub of PSC makes mockery of Parliament


Published:  Apr 21, 2022 7:47 AM

Updated: 7:47 AM

YOURSAY | ‘Govt servants cannot be above Parliament.’

Education minister refuses to meet PSC, cites cabinet’s order – Maszlee

Dr Raman Letchumanan: “They (Education Minister Mohd Radzi Md Jidin and his ministry) gave an excuse that the cabinet did not allow them to attend (a parliamentary select committee meeting),” PSC on education chairperson Maszlee Malik told Malaysiakini after they did not appear at the meeting on Wednesday (April 20).

In July 2021, I wrote this opinion piece where I stated that constitutionally the cabinet is answerable to the Parliament.

In particular, Article 43 (3) of the Federal Constitution states: “The cabinet shall be collectively responsible to Parliament”.

The parliamentary select committees (PSCs) are unanimously agreed by all MPs, both the government and opposition, to inquire into any matter of public interest and report to the Dewan Rakyat for further action.

In this case, it was alleged that the same set of questions in a public exam (SPM) was administered to a subsequent batch of students.

This strikes at the core principle of education – that no one should be allowed to copy or have an undue advantage and pass an exam.

The government (cabinet) should rightfully be alarmed by this expose and take every opportunity to allay the fears of possible manipulation of our education system.

However, the cabinet despite its constitutional obligation refuses to attend an inquiry by Parliament.

The cabinet obviously has violated the Constitution. What is the punishment for that? For them to step down, at least? What is the prime minister’s stand on this matter?

Indeed, this goes against the basic principle of parliamentary democracy. The executive (cabinet) having given the full powers to govern the country, now refuses to answer to Parliament for their (mis)deeds, in other words, the rakyat.

Earlier the MACC chief refused to attend an enquiry by Parliament citing deficiencies in the invitation over a scandal involving his shares ownership.

Are the cabinet and government officials making a mockery of Parliament, the highest august institution of the country?

I think the cabinet itself needs an education on our Federal Constitution.

If this matter is not addressed properly and openly, the public cannot be blamed for looking down upon our education system, much maligned as it is.

The Middle Man: Does that mean the PSC is toothless and powerless? The PSC must have the legal authority to summon any parliamentarian or cabinet member to sit in the hearing.

Refusal to attend must warrant punishment like denial of privileges, suspension and if needed, even disqualification of being an MP.

In addition, the PSC should also be empowered to take legal action to enforce its findings otherwise it makes a mockery of the PSC and its functions.

OrangePanther 1466: Refusal to attend Parliament is equivalent to contempt. They should be hauled up and penalised.

Government servants cannot be above Parliament. By refusing attendance, they are belittling the stature of the august House.

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