AS an ordinary voter and Malaysian citizen, I find it refreshing to see Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof recently appearing on television to explain to the general public about pertinent matters related to the latest session of Parliament as well as efforts to bring in meaningful reforms to our legislative body.
Appearing on RTM’s Sidang Parlimen programme, he also spoke positively about the general performance and conduct of the current batch of Parliamentarians. To his credit, Mohamad Ariff came across as amiable as well as articulate in explaining his views in response to questions posed by the programme’s interviewer.
Although he is not the first Speaker to appear on television and engage with Malaysians, this “public diplomacy” initiative should be seen in the light of the reformist agenda that he has embarked upon since assuming his position in July last year.
Other than spearheading institutional reforms to make our legislative body more democratic and transparent, he has taken positive steps to bring it “closer” to the public and for Malaysians to have useful insights about its role and functions. These included the “Lecture Series”, which began several months ago in which personalities get the opportunity to share their views and perspectives about issues related to democracy and sound governance as well as citizen participation.
Another initiative are outreach activities aimed at generating greater awareness about our Parliamentary democratic system among students of tertiary institutions and schools as well as the general public. The launch of MY Parl, an application which provides the public with access to relevant information through their smartphones on Parliament (pic), is another laudable initiative.
I am quite certain that these positive steps will help to expand the public’s knowledge, particularly among the younger generation of Malaysians, about our democratic system of governance
Kudos to the Pakatan Harapan administration for appointing, this time around, a non-politician to be Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat. His previous experience and expertise as an academician and Court of Appeal judge have certainly put him in a good stead to usher in meaningful reforms to our legislative entity.
HUSSAIN ABU BAKAR