Vigneswaran urges Senate Reform Committee to consider increasing terms of Senators

KUALA LUMPUR: The Senate Reform Committee has been urged by Dewan Negara president S. A. Vigneswaran to look into increasing the length of a Senator’s term.

Presently, senators are appointed on a three-year term with a likelihood of another three-year extension. 

Vigneswaran - who spoke during a speech at the Dewan Negara Reform roundtable discussion in Parliament on Monday (Feb 18) - pointed out that senators who serve a mere three-year term would not be eligible for a full pension. 

“If we are talking about not wanting to become a toothless tiger, the YB’s must speak according to their conscience. 

“If that’s the way, then we have a problem with these three years. If the three-year term is not increased, then you YB’s won’t get a full pension.” 

He also explained that if the senator’s term is increased to five years and they are guaranteed a pension, then they would be more likely to speak up on issues. 

Vigneswaran added that this would also boost the independence of a senator. 

Meanwhile, Vigneswaran proposed for state appointment quotas to be increased from two senators per state to three. 

Vigneswaran cited Islamic International University law lecturer Shamrahayu Aziz, who spoke about the importance of increasing the amount of senators in the Dewan Negara. 

“She said that in effort to care for the interest of the states, the increment of members from states have to be given proper consideration, so that it is in line with the aspirations of the formation of the Dewan Negara, which is to uphold the state’s interests,” he said. 

“It is important for the amount of senators in states to be relooked into, so that the voice of a state is strengthened and issues of public interest will be given attention at a national level,” he added.