MARCH 2 — Imposing a 14-day ban on errant federal lawmakers and senators during parliamentary sessions can strengthen policy discussion, said several non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

However, they also said that the calibre of Members of Parliament (MPs) determines the quality of debates.

I couldn’t agree more with that.

But in order to have MPs of calibre, they need training.

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In the UK, training courses are offered which are designed for elected Parliamentarians, parliamentary clerks and officials, as well as a wide range of public policy-makers and regulators.

Take the example of the Oxford Management Centre, which offers a training course on “Parliamentary Procedure”. The course covers the fundamentals of parliamentary practice and procedure, giving special attention to those features of the practice and procedure of Parliament which are fundamental to the rule of law and the separation of powers under any democratic constitution.

The course highlights, among others:

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· the fundamentals of what Parliament does and how it works;

· the purposes of parliamentary procedure;

· rules and principles of parliamentary procedure and practice;

· Standing Orders for meetings of the House and its committees;

· Motions and amendments;

· Voting methods and parliamentary privilege;

· Codes of conduct and standards in public life.

At the end of the course, participants should be able to, among others:

understand the fundamentals of how a Parliament or other legislative assembly should work;

· articulate the core purposes of parliamentary procedure;

· understand parliamentary terms;

· navigate Standing Orders;

· handle parliamentary business including motions and amendments;

· understand the parameters of parliamentary privilege;

· understand and develop codes of conduct and standards in public life

Most professions – doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants, architects – require formal training. Do we have the same for our elected MPs?

Parliamentarians should be required to attend training. What say you, Speaker?

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