KUALA LUMPUR: A special committee is looking into the concept and method for implementing hybrid Parliament sittings, including looking at the experiences of legislative bodies in countries such as the Britain and Australia, says Dewan Negara president Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim.
He said several key aspects are being analysed by the committee, particularly in terms of interpretation and implementation, for adaptation to avoid violating the standard operating procedure (SOP) in place to curb Covid-19.
“This is because the concept and procedure involves various implications, not only the legal aspects such as the Standing Orders of both Houses of Parliament, but also new stipulations on the behaviour and conduct of Members of Parliament, besides matters of infrastructure and legislative tools, ” he said in a statement.
According to Rais, the special committee, whose members include the Dewan Negara president, Dewan Rakyat Speaker, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Dewan Negara deputy president, both Deputy Speakers of Dewan Rakyat and Parliament chief administrator, will conduct a follow-up meeting.
He said the special committee has taken into account the impact of the pandemic and the need for continuity of the people’s voice in Parliament, in line with the constitutional monarchy government.
“Besides that, the special committee is also considering the implications of the enforcement of the Emergency, which faces financial challenges, and the burden of Parliament administrators’ duties as well as the capability to update existing infrastructure involving communications of 222 Dewan Rakyat constituencies and 70 senators nationwide.
“As such, the implementation of this legislative project is a noble and constructive effort because in any situation, Parliament, as the main institution of a democratic government, must be functioning, ” he said.
Rais said this effort proved the legislative and executive branches are very objective on the current needs and demands, especially in gathering honest, sincere and constructive opinions from all MPs and senators in a bid to overcome the Covid-19 threat, which has recorded 616,815 cases and claimed 3,378 lives in the country.
“In achieving this noble objective, the executive and legislative powers must work as one so that the result will meet the requirements of the Federal Constitution, Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act, Standing Orders of both Houses and related regulations, ” he added.
On June 4, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan said the government had agreed in principle for Parliament sittings to be held in a hybrid manner, with representatives present physically and virtually. — Bernama