Senate reforms to start with a select committee

Senate reform committee chairman Yusmadi Yusoff. (Facebook pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: A Dewan Negara Select Committee will be set up soon in an effort to strengthen Parliament, according to Senator Mohd Yusmadi Mohd Yusoff, chairman of the Senate reform working committee.

He said the select committee was a personal idea of the Dewan Negara president, S.A. Vigneswaran. “He will form a select committee as soon as possible.”

Yusmadi said the setting up of the select committee was among nine issues in the Dewan Negara Reform Report released today.

“The third issue in the 37-page report recommends the Dewan Negara Select Committee to better address issues facing the country. The report also emphasises the role of the Senate members as set out in paragraph 64 of the Reid Commission Report 1957,” he said.

Yusmaidi said: “We do not envisage the Senate as a body of secondary importance. Our recommendations are made with the intention of enabling the Senate to become an influential forum of debate and discussion, and a body which will contribute valuable revision to legislation and which will be able to impose a measure of delay in exceptional cases.”

He said in order to strengthen independence of the Parliament and improve the role of the Senate, the reform report also recommended a number of proposals, including reviving the Parliamentary Services Act 1963 with appropriate amendments in line with the practice in the upper house of the Canadian, Australian and Indian parliaments.

He said the report also recommended the setting up of a Parliamentary Institute to train parliamentary members and promote parliamentary democracy.