Dewan Rakyat Speaker: Unparliamentary behaviour will dampen reforms

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 25 Apr 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: Parliamentary reforms will not be successful without a change in political culture and mindset, says Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof (pic).

Referring to the rowdiness and uncouth behaviour seen in Parliament at times, the Dewan Rakyat Speaker said that this sort of attitude would dampen their reforms.

"As far as reforms are concerned, we can have internal institutional and technical changes – but over and above, to really succeed, we need a change in culture and mindset.

"This is imperative … we do whatever we can to introduce laudable changes to enhance parliamentary democracy and then we have misbehaviour on the floor of the house.

"It will dampen the entire reform. That is not good. I have to say this categorically. To achieve world-class standards … we have to try our utmost to have this change in political culture and mindset," he said on Thursday (April 25) during a session on parliamentary reforms.

The event was organised by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli).

Mohamad Ariff said the unruly behaviour has led to the view that Parliament provides no meaningful insight to the executive arm of the government, policies and administration.

"Not only that, it is seen as a rubberstamp and a place of very unruly debate and partisan discord with the penchant for sexist remarks, sometimes obscenities and sometimes racist comments," he said.

"That is why whatever technical reforms must be met with good parliamentary culture so that we have a Parliament that can live up to its name as a dignified institution performing a very critical function," he said.

Among the reforms made so far include introduction of parliamentary select committees, ensuring the Public Accounts Committee chairman is from the opposition, engagement with civil society, workshops, and a lecture series.

Mohamad Ariff said that the move to reintroduce the Parliamentary Services Act 1963, which would make Parliament more efficient, was also underway.

The Act, which was abolished in 1992, provided for the administrative functions of Parliament and its staff to be totally separated from the government's executive arm.

Mohamad Ariff also said there was a need to establish more select committees, including those that focused on the environment and climate change; international trade and foreign affairs; as well as human rights and constitutional affairs.

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