Dewan Negara passes three Bills

The Upper House: The Dewan Negara has 102 seats although there are only 70 senators. Its styling is similar to that of the larger Dewan Rakyat, but on a smaller scale. — Filepic

KUALA LUMPUR: The Dewan Negara on Tuesday approved the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Amendment) Bill 2023, the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (Amendment) Bill 2023 and the Highway Authority Malaysia (Incorporation) (Amendment) Bill 2023.

The amendment to the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act 1999 was approved with a greater number of affirmative votes following discussions involving 11 Senate members.

When winding up the debate, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Law and Institutional Reform) M. Kulasegaran emphasised that the amendments aim to fortify the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) for citizens’ benefit.

He said Suhakam would not function like other enforcement agencies such as the Royal Malaysia Police or the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), which are empowered under their respective acts.

"However, despite not having an enforcement role and not directly empowered with enforcement authority, in carrying out its responsibilities, Suhakam always collaborates with other government agencies on human rights issues," he said.

In addition, Kulasegaran announced that Suhakam members' allowances would be decided by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and would correspond to their part-time responsibilities.

"The Legal Affairs Division (BHEUU) is preparing a new allowance framework for Suhakam members, pending consideration by the Finance Ministry and the Public Service Department," he said.

On the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (Amendment) Bill, Kulasegaran said that the amendment aims to enhance the provisions of Act 621 to facilitate assistance in criminal matters between Malaysia and other countries.

He said the bill includes procedures for admitting evidence in court under Section 90F of the Evidence Act 1950, aiming to resolve challenges in obtaining documents for domestic cases like overseas financial transactions.

Meanwhile, during the winding up debate on the Highway Authority Malaysia (Incorporation) (Amendment) Bill 2023, Deputy Works Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan, emphasised its goal to streamline and bolster the Malaysian Highway Authority's operations in line with present demands, enabling it to generate income.

The Dewan Negara sitting continues on Wednesday (April 3) - Bernama

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