KUALA LUMPUR: Parliament is set to have six new standing committees, says Subang MP Wong Chen.
He said this would give MPs the chance to engage ministries, develop policies, and consider state issues to ensure continuity of government.
The new standing committees are those for the consideration of bills; for the budget; on rights and gender equality; on major public appointments; on defence and home affairs; and on federal-state relations.
“For too long, MPs are only tasked to debate Bills at a cursory level and then rubberstamp laws drafted by the Executive.
“MPs are under-utilised, resulting in low productivity and at times, low attendance,” he said at a press conference in Parliament on Tuesday (Dec 4).
The six new standing committees will add to the five committees already existing: the Public Accounts Committee; the Standing Orders Committee; House Committee; Committee of Privileges; and Selection Committee.
“The creation of the six new standing committees is a first step to a better, more democratic Malaysia,” said Wong, who also praised Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof for the move.
Additionally, Wong said that based on a research paper produced by his office on Monday (Dec 3), it is recommended that Parliament have nine new standing committees to supplement the current five existing committees.
“We currently have 25 ministries and as a matter of principle, every ministry should be accountable to one standing committee.
“This does not mean we need 25 committees as we can group ministries by themes into standing committees.
“In our paper, we recommend a mere nine new standing committees to cover most if not all of the ministries,” he added.
The research paper – titled “Standing Committees for a New Malaysia” – also recommend special select committees be established on an ad hoc basis, and for a budget of RM11.4mil to operate all of the committees.