IN a historic move, Parliament is set to have six new standing committees, said Subang MP Wong Chen.
Standing committees in Parliament are essential for democracy and to provide a check and balance on the Executive, he said.
“The creation of the six new standing committees is a first step to a better and more democratic Malaysia,” said Wong, who also praised Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof for the move.
For too long, MPs were only tasked to debate Bills at a cursory level and then rubber stamp laws drafted by the Executive, he said.
“As a result, MPs were underutilised, resulting in low productivity and at times, low attendance. The creation of standing committees will enable most MPs to engage the ministries, develop policies and consider state issues to ensure continuity of government,” he said.
The new standing committees are for consideration of Bills; committee for budget; committee on rights and gender equality; committee on major public appointments; committee on defence and home affairs; and committee on federal-state relations.
The six new standing committees adds to the five already existing committees in Parliament. The current committees are the Public Accounts Committee; the Standing Orders Committee; House Committee; Committee of Privileges; and Selection Committee.
Based on a research paper produced by his office on Monday, Wong said Parliament should have nine new standing committees to supplement the 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 the ministries,” he said.
The research paper, entitled Standing Committees for a New Malaysia, also recommended for special select committees to be established on an ad hoc basis and for a budget of RM11.4mil to operate all of the committees.