KUALA LUMPUR, June 7 — A Special Committee is looking into the concept and method for implementing hybrid Parliament sittings, including by taking into account the experiences of legislative bodies in countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia, said Dewan Negara President Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim.
He said several key aspects are being analysed by the committee, particularly in terms of interpretation and implementation, for adaptation to avoid violating the standard operating procedure (SOP) which is in place to curb the spread of Covid-19.
“This is because the concept and procedure involve various implications, not only from the legal aspects such as the Standing Orders of both Houses of Parliament but also new stipulations on the behaviour and conduct of Members of Parliament (MPs), besides matters of infrastructure and legislative tools,” he said in a statement today.
According to Rais, the Special Committee, whose members include the Dewan Negara President, Dewan Rakyat Speaker, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Dewan Negara Deputy President, both Deputy Speakers of Dewan Rakyat and Parliament chief administrator, will conduct a follow-up meeting tomorrow.
He said the Special Committee has specifically taken into account the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country and the need for continuity of the people’s voice in Parliament, in line with the system of constitutional monarchy government.
“Besides that, the Special Committee is also considering the implications of the enforcement of the Emergency, which faces financial challenges, and the burden of Parliament administrators’ duties as well as the capability to update existing infrastructure involving communications of 222 Dewan Rakyat constituencies and 70 Senators nationwide.
“As such, the implementation of this legislative project is a noble and constructive effort because in any situation, Parliament, as the main institution of a democratic government, must be functioning,” he said.
Rais said this effort proved that the legislative and executive branches are very objective on the current needs and demands, especially in gathering honest, sincere and constructive opinions from all MPs and Senators in a bid to overcome the Covid-19 threat, which has recorded 616,815 cases and claimed 3,378 lives in the country.
“In achieving this noble objective, the executive and legislative powers must work as one so that the result will meet the requirements of the Federal Constitution, Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952, Standing Orders of both Houses and related subsidiary regulations,” he added.
On June 4, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan said the government had agreed in principle for Parliament sittings to be held in a hybrid manner, with representatives present both physically and virtually. — Bernama