Johor DAP leader criticises Putrajaya over EO on spending, demands accountability

Sheikh Umar said the PN government was acting shadily at a time when the legislature cannot act as a 'check and balance'. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Sheikh Umar said the PN government was acting shadily at a time when the legislature cannot act as a 'check and balance'. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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JOHOR BARU, April 2 — A Johor DAP leader has criticised the Emergency Ordinance allowing the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government to approve additional spending without Parliament’s approval, calling for better accountability.

Johor DAP publicity director Sheikh Umar Bagharib Ali said making such spending decisions without oversight would lead to questions.

“Coupled with the absence of the legitimacy of the PN government’s majority in Parliament, I would like to ask whether this increase in spending is politically motivated,” he said.

He expressed concern that additional funds would be used to curry voter support and said Malaysians deserved accountability for how taxpayers funds were spent.

He was commenting on Wednesday’s announcement of the Emergency (Essential Powers) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 law where the amendment allows for all allocations and provisions to be approved by either the prime minister, the chief ministers, mentris besar or heads of states.

Sheikh Umar, who is also the Johor DAP Youth chief, said the PN government was acting shadily at a time when the legislature cannot act as a “check and balance.”

Sheikh Umar, who is also the Paloh assemblyman, said the latest EO indicated a further erosion of Malaysia’s democracy.

Malaysia has been put under a state of Emergency from January 11 until the expected end date of August 1 unless lifted earlier. During this period, Parliament and state legislative assemblies — which typically play the role of checks and balance on the executive branch of the government — have been suspended until further notice.

In the new law titled Emergency (Essential Powers) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021, it amends an earlier Emergency ordinance gazetted on January 14 by allowing such approvals without requiring the usual scrutiny by Parliament.

Under the new law, mentris besar and chief ministers of states in Malaysia will similarly be able to approve additional spending in state government funds beyond the initial budget without having to get approval of state legislative assemblies.

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