Media Statement by Tony Pua in Petaling Jaya on Monday, 20th October 2008: 

Cabinet “approval” for Public Accounts Committee to scrutinise the Eurocopter deal makes a mockery of Malaysia's parliamentary system

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said yesterday that the cabinet had agreed that the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) scrutinise the acquisition of the Eurocopter EC725 helicopters to replace the ageing Nuri helicopters.

In addition, on behalf of the PAC, Najib said “the PAC would begin the process as soon as possible”.

As a member of the Parliament's PAC, while we welcome the Deputy Prime Minister's willingness to cooperate with the investigations, I find it a total mockery of the parliamentary process that any scrutiny by the PAC requires the “agreement” of the Cabinet. Worse, it appears as if Datuk Seri Najib had a major say in when the investigations can proceed.

The PAC made the decision to investigate the Eurocopter deal last Wednesday and it does not require the “approval” of the Deputy Prime Minister or his cabinet. The PAC is an independent institution of the Parliament set up to scrutinse the actions of the Government, including its cabinet and hence, any inference of subservience to the Cabinet is will be completely ludicrous and render the PAC incapacitated.

The Deputy Prime Minister and the Cabinet must respect the independence and integrity of the PAC. They must stop denigrating the Parliament and its institutions to tools of the Executive to achieve their own ends. In addition, they must cooperate fully with the PAC at all times, including if the Deputy Prime Minister himself, or members of his cabinet are called to be queried on various scandals which affects them or their Ministries.

* Tony Pua Kiam Wee, DAP National Publicity Secretary & MP for Petaling Jaya Utara