Law minister says restoring Parliament’s independence will be priority

Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar is pictured at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur September 14, 2021. ― Bernama pic
Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar is pictured at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur September 14, 2021. ― Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 16 — Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said reviving the Parliamentary Services Act will be the priority among his many proposed reforms.

In a webinar organised by Asian Strategy and Leadership Incorporated titled MoU — A Pathway to Transformation and Stability, he said this was because parliamentary independence was foundational to other related reforms.

“If you want to transform Parliament, you must create the base first. Meaning the law that gives independence to Parliament itself,” he said.

He said that it has been his primary aim since being appointed de facto law minister to reintroduce the Act that would restore Parliament’s control of its own affairs as stipulated under Article 62 of the Federal Constitution.

He said that the Parliamentary Service Act was implemented back in 1963 when the Federation of Malaysia was formed, but was later removed in 1993.

“I have been in Parliament for 30 over years and I have seen the development of Parliament itself. The (Parliamentary Service) Act gave independence to the Parliament without our constitution under Article 62 - to give independence to the internal affairs of Parliament, to be managed by Parliament itself.

“Can you imagine, if you go against the constitution today, a lot of people will say a lot of things about you. But then, we have not been following the constitution since 1993 in the context of Parliament, and no one is talking about it,” he said.

He said he only has limited time to implement the reforms that were decades overdue, adding that Malaysia has underperformed in this arena.

“So when I was appointed, I thought, let me try my way of doing it, So that is why when I came in, my first statement was to talk about the three areas of reform that I have in mind,” he said.

Yesterday, Wan Junaidi met with Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun, to which the latter has given its commitment to assist the government in looking into the legal aspects concerning transformation in the government sector and Parliament as well as the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).

Among the issues discussed included motion to appoint three Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speakers, instead of two, implementation of Undi 18 and looking into the rights of people in Sabah and Sarawak as stated in the Malaysia Agreement (MA63).

Wan Junaidi also stressed that the government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, was committed to carrying out transformation within the government, legislative and political system in order to suit the current social and political situation and to be more equipped in dealing with modern day challenges.

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