A time to put PM on the spot in Parliament

The government proposes to set up a Parliamentary Services Commission to make Parliament independent of the executive.

PETALING JAYA: The government intends to introduce Prime Minister’s Question Time in the Dewan Rakyat, based on a similar practice in the British Parliament.

The Deputy Speaker, Nga Kor Ming, said PMQ would be solely for the prime minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, to field questions from MPs.

“He cannot delegate the task to his deputy,” Nga said in a media interview. “We actually plan to telecast live this ‘Question Time’ so you don’t have to rely on unfounded news,” he said, Malaysiakini reported.

The new sessions are expected to take place in July, and come two years after the previous Speaker, Pandikar Amin Mulia, had introduced Minister’s Question Time in October 2016, in two half-hour sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

At the time, opposition MPs in the Barisan Nasional-dominated house had demanded that Prime Minister’s Question Time also be introduced.

Nga said “Ministry Day” would be introduced, with each ministry to answer questions on a specific day.

“For instance, Monday will be the Finance Ministry Day. So it will be compulsory for the minister, Lim Guan Eng, to come to Parliament and answer questions linked to his ministry. For other days, he can focus on his work and he doesn’t need to spend the entire week in Parliament,” he was quoted as saying.

Nga said the government also intended to have a Parliamentary Services Commission, to separate Parliament from the executive. At present de facto law minister Liew Vui Keong of the Prime Minister’s Department oversees parliamentary affairs.