Parliament no longer a rubber stamp, says speaker

Dewan Rakyat speaker Mohd Ariff Md Yusof says Parliament has to be an institution that is credible and has integrity.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Parliament is longer a “rubber stamp” like it used to be before, Dewan Rakyat speaker Mohd Ariff Md Yusof said today.

He said the process of parliamentary reforms will continue to be implemented, Bernama reported.

“We do not want such a situation again.

“Parliament has to be an institution that is credible and has integrity. It must have the people’s respect.

“People should not think it is just a rubber stamp and a place where people fight,” he told reporters after opening a seminar on parliamentary reforms at the Parliament building earlier today.

He said the reforms carried out over the past four months included improving the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), setting up of six special select committees, as well as efforts to reinstate the Parliament Services Act.

These had brought positive changes to Parliament in bringing it on a par with other parliaments in the world, he added.

Last Tuesday, Ariff announced the setting up of six new select committees.

These comprise the Special Select Committee for Consideration of Bills, Special Select Committee on Budget, Special Select Committee on Defence and Home Affairs, Special Select Committee on Rights and Gender Equality, Special Select Committee on States and Federal Relations, and Special Select Committee on Major Public Appointments.

Arif said the committees were essential for democracy, and to provide checks and balances on the executive body.

Prior to that, he had announced the setting up of the Caucus on Reform and Governance to strengthen the function of the parliamentary institution.

In another development, Ariff said Parliament was also working with Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (DBP) to improve the quality of debates by MPs, adding that a guidebook on it by DBP was distributed to members of the house last week.

In tandem with current technology, Parliament has also launched a parliamentary application, MY Parl, which enables all quarters, including parliamentarians and the public, to access information through their smartphones on Parliament, including the meeting order, Hansard and programmes, he added.