PETALING JAYA: Bersih 2.0 today took the government to task for its decision not to have a Prime Minister’s Question Time (PMQT) in Parliament despite promising to implement it in the Pakatan Harapan manifesto.
The electoral watchdog was responding to a statement by de facto law minister VK Liew, saying the prime minister could respond to queries in the Dewan Rakyat during the minister’s question time.
Bersih 2.0 said while Dr Mahathir Mohamad could and did use the existing slot, there was no guarantee or convention to compel future prime ministers doing so.
“As chief executive of the Cabinet, the PM should be held to account directly and speak for the government in a special PMQT, especially under current laws where the PM holds so much decision-making powers,” it added.
Bersih said a PMQT would allow MPs to question the prime minister directly on key national issues.
It said the restoration of the independence and strength of all branches of government and public institutions should be of the utmost priority for the PH government.
This is so “we do not have a repeat of the kind of prime ministerial abuse of powers and corruption that we witnessed previously”.
“We call on the law minister to reconsider his position and amend the Standing Order of Parliament to implement PMQT as promised in the Buku Harapan in order to make the Parliament a strong institution to check executive powers,” it said.