PETALING JAYA: The Dewan Negara is still relevant as it is one of the main functions of Parliament, says Tan Sri SA Vigneswaran.
The outgoing Senate president said without Dewan Negara, one of the main functions of Parliament would be eliminated.
He said the Reid Commission had recommended Dewan Negara with the intention of enabling the Senate to become an influential forum of debate and discussion.
“Dewan Negara was also intended to be a body that will contribute valuable revision to legislation. It is also to be a body that will be able to impose a measure of delay in exceptional cases, ” he said in a speech during a farewell luncheon yesterday. He was appointed Senate president on April 26,2016.
Vigneswaran hoped the Dewan Negara reformation committee would continue championing reforms that he had initiated.He also called on the government to revoke a controversial amendment passed in 1993 to reduce the powers of the Malay Rulers as he believed the amendments contravened provisions in the Federal Constitution.
“It was enforced without the consent of the Malay Rulers. The amendment has become a subject of debate until now. The powers of Malay Rulers and the sovereignty of the royal institution should be reinstated.
“I stand corrected. The power of the Malay Rulers should be returned as it was during Independence, ” he said.
Vigneswaran said the powers vested in the Malay Rulers was important to guarantee political stability and the future of the multiracial community.
He said the appreciation of the constitutional monarch in Malaysia was reflected during the recent political turmoil that ended in a smooth power transition.
“It can be concluded that the royal institution still played an important role in the administration system, as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.
“When a political crisis erupted in late February, we bore witness to the role played by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
“It showed that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Malay Rulers are important pillars of the country. They are the hope and symbol of unity as they are above politics, ” he said.
Article 182 of the Federal Constitution was amended in 1993 to enable the setting up of a special court for Malay Rulers to preside over cases involving Sultans.
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