Parliament watchdog shortens ministries’ response time to two months to improve scrutiny

Ida Lim
·3-min read
Public Accounts Committee chairman Wong Kah Woh speaks during a press conference at Parliament, Kuala Lumpur November 5, 2020. — Bernama pic
Public Accounts Committee chairman Wong Kah Woh speaks during a press conference at Parliament, Kuala Lumpur November 5, 2020. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 25 — The bipartisan parliamentary watchdog of how the government spends money has improved the scrutiny process by compelling ministries and government units to report back in just two months, instead of the previous three months allocated.

Wong Kah Woh, chairman of the watchdog Public Accounts Committee (PAC), said the committee has decided to improve its proceedings by “shortening the time given to all ministries, departments and government agencies to provide feedback to this committee, from three months to two months”.

He said this decision was made in a special discussion held to strengthen PAC’s role and responsibilities.

“The shortening of that period is intended to ensure that each recommendation given by this committee in its report receives serious and immediate attention from all Controlling Officers, which is the Secretary-General (KSU),” Wong, who is also DAP’s Ipoh Timur MP, said in a statement today.

“Besides shortening that time, all KSUs have to also provide a written interim report to the Parliament PAC about the action that have been taken towards the recommendations presented by this committee in a month, while in the second month, all the KSUs involved have to appear before the Parliament PAC to present the latest feedback,” he added.

In comparison, all secretary-generals were before this given a period of three months to provide feedback to PAC by appearing before PAC and presenting the actions that have been taken, he said.

Wong said the improvement towards the feedback meeting process would enable PAC to monitor and for the public to know the follow-up actions taken by the government towards PAC’s recommendations in each of PAC’s reports.

Wong also highlighted the work that has been done by PAC since it started meeting on November 3, including 25 meetings and briefings and the presentation of four PAC reports and one feedback report from the government.

He listed these reports as being PAC’s report in relation to the management of the Perlis Sports School Malaysia (SSM Perlis) project; PAC’s report on the Road Charges (RC) system and the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) project; PAC’s report on the sale of land owned by Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL); PAC’s report on control activities towards foreign workers; and the report of the Finance Ministry’s follow-up action regarding the claims for outstanding refunds of the goods and services tax (GST) totalling RM14.9 billion.

Wong said PAC is expected to hold 10 additional meetings and is slated to present four more reports, including PAC’s report on Education Malaysia Global Services (EMGS).

The other three reports are on the follow-up action by the Finance Ministry and the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry on PAC’s report’s recommendations on the management of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) subsidies; follow-up action by the Finance Ministry and Khazanah Nasional on PAC’s recommendations on Khazanah Nasional’s investment losses; and follow-up action by the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation on PAC’s recommendations on air mobility development.

He said the public can access all PAC reports that have been tabled in the Dewan Rakyat through PAC’s official website at www.parlimen.gov.my/pac.

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