Wan Junaidi pledges Parliamentary reforms, says existing rules are ‘relics of the past’

PETALING JAYA: After being appointed as the new de facto law minister, Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar (pic) has pledged to carry out several Parliamentary reforms, among them to make the Dewan Rakyat an independent institution.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law) also said his proposed Parliamentary reforms came following a one and a half hour-long discussion with Dewan Negara president Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim and Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun.

“In line with what I have mentioned earlier in the media, the focus during the 1.5-hour long discussion was mainly on the Parliamentary transformation,” he said in a statement on Friday (Sept 3).

Wan Junaidi said he intends to revive and reintroduce the Parliamentary Service Act in order to make Parliament independent.

“This move is consistent with what has been taken by other Parliaments internationally. It is based on Article 62 (Parliamentary procedure) and Article 63 (Privileges of Parliament) under the Federal Constitution.”

Wan Junaidi also said there was a proposal to create a new Parliamentary Act to replace the Privileges and Power Act 1952, as he argued that it was outdated.

“This act was created in 1952. The existing act is completely obsolete and outdated and is no longer suitable for the political landscape of the 21st century,” he said.

“Instead of amending it, it’s better to come up with a new Act that is more comprehensive, inclusive and complete,” added Wan Junaidi.

He also said that the proposed Parliamentary Act is also in line with the practices of Commonwealth countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and India.

Meanwhile, Wan Junaidi also said there will be discussions to amend the present Standing Orders and rules of the Parliament and the Senate.

Wan Junaidi described the present Standing Orders and rules as a “relic” of the Federal Agreement 1948, which was amended in 1956 for the declaration of independence of Malaya in 1957.

He argued that these rules are not able to accommodate requirements of the modern political landscape in Parliament.

“Many Commonwealth countries have been making the necessary amendments to their rules and procedure in Parliament to suit current time and in our quest for Parliamentary reforms, it is crucial for us to make more changes and improvements to the set of rules that are no longer suitable.

“The amendments made should also focus on efforts to empower the Parliamentary committee.”

Wan Junaidi said he is happy that Rais and Azhar took his proposal positively and are ready to carry out the proposed transformation in Parliament.

He also said they have agreed to form a joint committee between Parliament and his ministry in order to ensure that the various discussed proposals can be executed.

“As for the next course of action, I will be submitting a report on this matter to the Cabinet for endorsement,” he added.

Wan Junaidi had served as the Deputy Speaker for one term from 2008 to 2013 and he has been an MP for Batang Lupar from 1990 to 2004, and the MP for Santubong from 2004 until presently.

Wan Junaidi replaced Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan who was the previous de-facto law minister under Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s tenure as prime minister.

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