Is the PSC yet another con job?

The government has a bad track record of implementing suggestions from past commissions, so how different will it be with the Parliamentary Select Committee?

(Free Malaysia Today) – How effective will the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) be if it has no powers to enforce and implement its suggestion? How different will it be from past commissions whose findings have come to nought?

These are the questions bugging Malaysians for Free and Fair Elections (Mafrel).

Speaking to FMT, Mafrel secretary-general Shaharudin Othman said: “Before we even ask the question of who should head PSC, we should take a step back and ask why even have PSC.

“Take the RCI (Royal Commission of Inquiry) on the the Lingam tape: even when they named the people involved, were there any actions taken?” he asked.

“The Parliamentary Accountability Committee (PAC) is an organ in the parliamentary system which questions mismanagement. But what has it done?

“Only when all the previous recommendations are looked into and some sincerity is shown in their implementation, will the PSC matter.”

Shaharudin said the PSC merely had the power to make suggestions which can easily be ignored by the government.

“The composition of the committee hardly matters as results have not been seen based on previous government actions.

“We have been living through many, many years based on promises.

“If there is no drastic change in the way the government does things, then we are merely living in the climate of broken promises,” he said.

‘Opposition has more stake’

Bersih 2.0 steering commitee member Maria Chin Abdullah also agreed.

“The government must make sure that the recommendations are implemented.

“This isn’t about Bersih, the government or the opposition. The people will observe the progress and they are the ones who will decide at the end of the day,” she said.

She also pointed out that having a minister head the nine-member PSC was not going to help increase public confidence in the electoral reform process.

She believed that the opposition should lead the committee as it had more at stake over electoral reforms.

“If you look at all the recent allegations of electoral irregularities, it is the opposition which has been vocal about them.

“The opposition should chair the committee because it has more at stake and more to lose.

“The government seems to be quite happy with the current process so it reflects a bias. We hope the government will take into account public confidence.

“If it goes on acting in its own interest, it will not inspire much public confidence,” she told FMT.

Maria Chin also noted that the nine committee members – comprising five MPs from the ruling government, three from the opposition and an independent – reflected a pro-government bias.