KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 12 — Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof believes a “shadow Cabinet” will help parliamentary sittings keep better time.
The former judge noted that there had been sittings in the previous Dewan Rakyat session that ran past midnight, and hopes for an end to such a practice.
“Nothing beyond midnight,” he told The Sunday Star in an interview published today.
According to the Speaker, sittings should end by 9.30pm or if there were urgent matters, by 11pm.
Mohamad Ariff suggested that parliamentary select committees or a “shadow Cabinet” would not only help speed up debates in the lawmaking institution, but make for more efficient proceedings as the Speaker would not have to “scout around the Chamber to see who should answer first”.
“Immediately, the first debater would be from the Opposition shadow Cabinet member,” he was quoted saying.
He indicated that the House would then not be bogged down by MPs who might repeat the same arguments and so save precious time for meaningful discussions.
Mohamad Ariff’s comments follow Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who snubbed the idea of a “shadow Cabinet” to check the ruling Pakatan Harapan.
Instead, the Umno president said the Opposition response would be conducted by MPs assigned to specific portfolios on subjects raised.
Dewan Rakyat sittings are usually held between 10am and 5.30pm Mondays to Thursdays, but the clock has been stopped at 11.59pm several times in recent years while debates continued into the early hours of the morning.