Speaker Art Harun wants to empower parliamentary special select committees

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): In conjunction with the 62nd anniversary of Parliament on Saturday (Sept 11), Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun wants parliamentary special select committees to be empowered as it has a very important role to carry out checks and balances in the administration of the country.

According to Azhar, the bipartisan committee is described as being private and specialised to discuss a certain matter in depth without the involvement of politicking.

"I want to inculcate the practice of using special select committees as I really believe the committees have an important function for checks and balances as it comprises representatives from the government and the Opposition.

"The committee also has the power to call ministers, civil servants to answer questions and I feel this improvement is very significant for the Malaysian Parliament,” he said during an appearance on the "Selamat Pagi Malaysia” programme aired over TV1 Saturday.

Azhar said as Dewan Rakyat Speaker, he also implemented several reforms in Parliament among them allocating time equally and fairly to both government and Opposition MPs to take part in the debate session.

On the view that Parliament should be an independent body without the interference of any parties, he said the institution has been playing the same role as an independent judiciary.

"In fact, when I became the Speaker, we were never told or given directives by the executive on what to do and what not to do.

"It really depends on the MPs to debate on any policies tabled in Parliament academically without emotion,” he said.

In preparation for the Dewan Rakyat sitting starting on Monday (Sept 13), Azhar said various initiatives were conducted to minimise the risk of Covid-19 infection, among them the installation of ultra violet air filters at the main hall of Parliament as well as using nano-technology to kill bacteria and viruses.

He said with the installation of the mechanism, the level of ventilation in Parliament is on par with that of a hospital.

On hybrid sittings, Azhar said a draft for the purpose which encompassed the procedure of sitting proceeding, regulations, debate and voting as well as intervention has been brought to the House Sitting Committee on Monday.

If it is agreed, he hoped at least the Special Select Committee meeting could be held online without the need for civil servants to be present apart from reducing the spread of Covid-19. - Bernama

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