THE House sent a loud and clear message to the Government when almost all of the 50-odd MPs present stood to support a call to bring back a piece of legislation that guarantees the independence of Parliament.
The event – described as historic by some MPs – came about when Datuk Shahrir Samad (BN – Johor Baru) called for a show of support to a suggestion that the Parliamentary Services Act 1963 (PSA), which was repealed in 1992, be re-enacted.
The Act provided for the administrative functions of Parliament and its staff to be totally separate from the executive arm of the Government.
All backbenchers and opposition MPs as well as most members of the executive, who after some hesitation, responded to Shahrir’s call.
Among those who did not stand were Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Mustapa Mohamad, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Tan Chai Ho and Deputy Internal Security Minister Chia Kwang Chye.
Shahrir said the clear indication of support meant there was no need for the proposal to be referred to Parliament’s House Committee before being forwarded to Cabinet for consideration as required by procedure.
“I feel we all want to bring back the Act today. There is no need to tell long stories.
“We want to do this quickly. Can the minister convey to the Cabinet today’s show of support for this by the MPs?” he asked.
Earlier, when answering Ahmad Shabery Cheek’s (BN - Kemaman) original question on whether the Government was going to amend laws to define the doctrine of separation of powers, Nazri said all new proposals to amend the laws had to come from the House Committee before the Cabinet would consider them.
M. Kulasegaran (DAP – Ipoh Barat) then asked when the House Committee would meet, to which Speaker Tan Sri Ramli Ngah Talib said he would look into the matter.