Azhar wants to empower Parliamentary Special Select Committee


KUALA LUMPUR – In conjunction with the 62nd anniversary of Parliament today, Dewan Rakyat Speaker, Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun (picture) wants Parliamentary Special Select Committee to be empowered as it has a very important role to carry out check and balance in the administration of the country.

According to Azhar, the bipartisan committee is described as being private and specialised to discuss a certain matter in depth without the involvement of politicking.

“I want to inculcate the practice of using Special Select Committee as I really believe the committee has an important function for check and balance as it comprised representatives from the government and the opposition.

“The committee also has the power to call ministers, civil servants to answer questions and I feel this improvement is very significant for the Malaysian Parliament,” he said in the Selamat Pagi Malaysia programme aired over TV1 today.

Azhar said as Dewan Rakyat Speaker, he also implemented several reforms in Parliament among them allocating time equally and fairly to both government and opposition MPs to take part in the debate session.

On the view that Parliament should be an independent body without the interference of any parties, he said the institution has been playing the same role like an independent judiciary.

“In fact, when I became the Speaker, we were never told or given directive by the executive on what to do and what not to do.

“It really depends on the MPs to debate on any policies tabled in Parliament academically without emotion,” he said.

In preparation for the Dewan Rakyat sitting starting on Monday, Azhar said various initiatives were conducted to minimise the risk of COVID-19 infection, among them the installation of ultra violet air filter at the main hall of Parliament as well as using nano technology to kill bacteria and virus.

He said with the installation of the mechanism, the level of ventilation in Parliament is on par with that of a hospital.

On hybrid sitting, Azhar said a draft for the purpose which encompassed the procedure of sitting proceeding, regulations, debate and voting as well as intervention have been brought to the House Sitting Committee on Monday.

If it is agreed, he hoped at least the Special Select Committee meeting could be held online without the need of civil servants to be present apart from reducing the spread of COVID-19.