Let’s kick start the work of Parliamentary Select Committees — Hafiz Hassan

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NOVEMBER 26 — The federal government has launched two surveys to obtain public feedback as it wants to know what Malaysians think before enacting laws that limit the prime minister’s term and stop elected lawmakers from switching political parties, which has been shown to cause the collapse of the government of the day.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar announced this in the Dewan Rakyat during Question Time yesterday.

A general view of the Parlimen Malaysia sign in Kuala Lumpur November 29, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
A general view of the Parlimen Malaysia sign in Kuala Lumpur November 29, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

If I may humbly suggest that the minister watch a video explaining how the United Kingdom (UK) House of Commons select committees work, which is available here.

To borrow from the video, if the government “wants to know what needs to change to make things better”, let a parliamentary select committee (PSC) look at the matters.

There is little to add to the video except the following brief introduction of PSC.

Select committees are small groups of MPs that are set up to investigate a specific issue in detail or to perform a specific scrutiny role. They may call in officials and experts for questioning and can demand information from the government. Select committees publish their findings in a report and the government is expected to respond to any recommendations that are made.”

According to the UK Parliament website, there are major benefits to the use of PSCs, which enable the country’s political system to function more effectively by:

  • creating a better public awareness and understanding;
  • stimulating further debate on important issues both in Parliament and beyond;
  • influencing government policy; and
  • informing changes to legislation

PSCs produce detailed reports. These summarise their findings and make recommendations, to which the government must respond, usually within 60 days.  (see House of Commons, ‘Brief Guide on Select Committee’ available here.)

PSCs are one of the great success stories of the UK Parliament, which our own PSCs can emulate.

The PSC on Fundamental Freedoms and Rights under the Constitution, which is one of nine PSCs announced by Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Azhar Azizan Harun on November 5 could have been entrusted to look at the matters announced by Wan Junaidi.

Let’s kick start the work of PSCs — at least the one chaired by Datuk Seri Azizah Mohd Dun (Bersatu-Beaufort).

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or organisation and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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