by ANIS HAZIM / pic by TMR FILE
THE Cabinet has agreed in principle to proposals for parliamentary reforms, including the reintroduction of the Parliamentary Services Act.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (picture) said the discussion was held with the speaker of the Dewan Rakyat and the Senate president in August 2021.
“They agreed that the government should enact a Parliamentary Services Act to realise the separation of powers between the legislative, executive and judiciary,” Wan Junaidi said in a statement today.
Other proposed parliamentary reforms are amendments to the Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952 and a draft Code of Ethics for MPs.
“The enactment also takes into account the establishment of the Parliamentary Services Commission — which is part of Parliament’s management that will have the autonomous power to determine its own policies and administrative management of Parliament,” he said.
Other matters that will also be looked into is the proposal to establish a Parliamentary Services Scheme, financial resources as well as an annual budget for Parliament from a consolidated fund to be managed by the Parliamentary Commission in accordance with the principle of separation of powers.
According to him, the amendments to the Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952 is important to ensure that the law stays relevant and is suited to the present day.
“The act was enacted in 1952 as the House of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) 1952 and was amended in 1953, before it was enforced in the same year.
“In 1988, an amendment was made to change it into the current act. Aside from that, it has not been amended since 1953,” he stated.
He noted that the Parliament (Privileges and Power) Act 1952 was related to the powers and privileges of MPs, freedom of speech and debates during parliamentary proceedings.
“The amendment will involve barring and suspending MPs who have already been charged in court, but this is being fine-tuned to adapt the latest and existing rules of the Dewan Rakyat,” he added.
On the code of ethics, Wan Junaidi proposed the formation of a separate code of ethics which is different from the current parliamentary standing orders.
“The code of ethics for MPs will outline more details on how they should act within and outside the Dewan as practised in several other countries,” he said.
Meanwhile, Wan Junaidi also requested the speakers of both Houses to hold Select Committee meetings as well as a meeting with stakeholders.
To note, the reforms are among areas mentioned in the memorandum of understanding signed with Pakatan Harapan on Sept 13 last year.