PAC chair condemns threat to arrest him, accuses cops of breaking law
Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairperson Wong Kah Woh has condemned police threats to arrest him and accused them of obstructing the panel's proceedings.
Police today deployed the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) to prevent MPs from entering Parliament, which the government has suspended from sitting, but the PAC proceedings were still supposed to resume.
"I deeply regret the police action which failed to provide safe passage for members of the PAC for its proceedings with the Health Ministry in Parliament which was scheduled at 10.30am today.
"As the PAC chairperson, I had asked for passage (into Parliament) but was denied. The same thing happened to other members of the PAC who faced roadblocks even though we carried a letter signed by the Dewan Rakyat secretary for the proceedings.
"The police even threatened to arrest me if I did not leave the roadblock within two minutes," Wong (above) said in a statement.
PAC members were only finally allowed into Parliament with the intervention of Parliament's management, he added.
"This action was uncalled for and a threat to our role as PAC members. It goes against the motion instructing the inspector-general of police to ensure the passage of MPs into Parliament for any meetings approved by the Dewan Rakyat at the start of every term.
"It is also in violation of Section 124 of the Penal Code," he said.
Section 124 stipulates that anyone who attempts to induce or compel an MP to exercise or refrain from exercising his lawful powers is guilty of an offence that provides a punishment of up to seven years imprisonment and a fine.
After the intervention, Wong said the PAC hearing proceeded with testimonies from Health Minister Dr Adham Baba, Health Ministry secretary-general Mohd Shafiq Abdullah, Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah and National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency director Roshayati Mohamad Sani.
The hearing was on the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines.
"The proceedings lasted for almost three and a half hours starting from 10.30am and is the fourth after one with the Finance Ministry on July 28," he added.
Wong said the PAC will deliberate on its reports and present its recommendations to the government for tabling in Parliament by October.