Candidates for Speaker's position have their say


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 17 Nov 2004

BY SUSAN TAM AND FLORENCE A. SAMY

PETALING JAYA: The Barisan Nasional candidate for the Dewan Rakyat Speaker’s post is looking forward to a “straight fight” but maintains that the “contenders” should respect Parliament’s decision. 

“To be selected as a candidate by the Prime Minister and the Cabinet is a great honour,” said Tan Sri Ramli Ngah Talib yesterday. 

Tan Sri Ramli

Asked if he had plans for parliamentary reform should he win the post, he said: “It is premature to say (anything) because people can misconstrue my comments as campaigning.  

“They still have a long time to choose the right person to fill the Speaker's post.”  

The Speaker’s position fell vacant following the death of Tun Dr Mohamed Zahir Ismail on Oct 14. Zahir had held the post for 22 years. 

Barisan nominated Ramli, who is Pasir Salak MP, for the post while the DAP submitted the name of Kepong MP Dr Tan Seng Giaw as its candidate. 

Ramli said this was a matter “for Parliament to decide,” adding that the candidates must respect the decision.  

Tan Seng Giaw

Asked if he was confident of winning the post, Ramli only expressed confidence that the MPs were aware of their wisdom when discharging their duties. 

The Barisan controls 91% of the seats in the 219-member Parliament.  

The election of the Speaker will be the first item of the agenda when the Dewan Rakyat reconvenes on Monday. 

Dr Tan said the new Speaker should look at parliamentary reforms to update the proceedings with changes brought on by information technology. 

“For example, the Speaker must encourage the use of information and communications technology, especially in Parliament where broadband and wireless facilities have been set up,” he said. 

He said his other reform ideas should he become Speaker included reviewing the staffing and administrative system of Parliament and the Public Accounts Committee. 

Other reforms proposed, Dr Tan said, were to have more facilities for the MPs, its committees and meaningful allocations for Parliament to make it cost-effective for taxpayers. 

“We require reform after 47 years of independence to ensure the right of Parliament to make or unmake any law as no person has a right to override or set aside its legislation,” he said, adding that there was an urgent need for reform so the House would become a first-world Parliament.  

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