Parliament needs to be independent, says Rais

KUALA LUMPUR: The Parliament should be separate and distinct from the judiciary and executive branches in conformity with the reformation spirit, said Dewan Negara president Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim.

He said this can be achieved by amending the Parliamentary Services Act 1963 and the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952.

"The administration of the Parliament is still controlled by the government of the day via a department (under the purview of the Prime Minister’s Department). Certainly, that is not the way and this is not a matter to be taken lightly.

"Hence, we put forward the view that the period for changes is happening, we make that happen, and we have to ask one question: how do we change the scenario? The answer (is) we change the law,” he said during the Parliament Lecture Series 1.0 Resetting the Malaysian Economy here Friday (Jan 27).

In order for the Parliament to be independent, he said the legislative branch needs to have its own financial and administrative resources and the authority to determine the operation of Parliament internally, as it is for the United States Congress and House of Commons of the United Kingdom.

The Parliamentary Services Act was introduced in 1963, paving the way for the Dewan Rakyat to act as an independent body, running its own affairs, selecting its staff and controlling its expenditure. However, it was repealed in 1992.

On the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952, he said under the law, the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara president have the executive powers in terms of controlling the behaviour of the Members of Parliament (MPs) and Senators for lack of decorum.

Stating a few examples of misbehaviours by MPs deemed wrongful under the law, he said the amendment needs to be done to increase the fine and for the Standing Order to conform with the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952. - Bernama

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