KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 3 — Dewan Negara President Tan Sri Rais Yatim and Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun have given their commitment to reforming the federal legislature including the restoration of the Parliamentary Services Act.
In a joint statement today, they said they welcomed the formation of a joint committee involving the Dewan Rakyat, Dewan Negara and the Prime Minister’s Department that the de facto law minister, Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, announced this morning.
“The focus on improvement is the amendment to the Parliamentary Councils (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952 (Act 347) as well as re-establishing the Parliamentary Services Act 1963 which was repealed in 1992 to ensure that the concept of separation of powers is truly appreciated, respected and practiced so that the authority of Parliament as the highest legislative body of the country is empowered.
“In line with this transformation plan, the Standing Orders for both the Dewan Negara and the Dewan Rakyat will be improved, covering aspects of meeting conduct, member’s discipline as well as strengthening the select committees that have been and will be formed,” they said.
Earlier today, Wan Junaidi said he will submit to the Cabinet a report on proposals to modernise Malaysia’s Parliament that included reintroducing the Parliamentary Services Act that had empowered the federal legislature to handle its own affairs.
He also said that the proposed Parliamentary Act is also in line with the practices of Commonwealth countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and India.
The Santubong MP described the present Standing Orders and rules as a “relic” of the Federal Agreement 1948, which was amended in 1956 for the declaration of independence of Malaya in 1957 and not suitable for the 21st century.