September 7, 2021

Minister of Laws and Parliament Should Increase Parliament Sitting Days As Part of Parliament Reform Initiatives

Today Minister in Prime Minister's Department (Parliament & Law) YB Dato Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar has announced transformation programme for Parliament.

He proposed 2 new laws which are Parliament Services Act and a new Parliament Act replacing The House of Parliament Privilege and Power Act.

This is a welcome news. As these new laws will involve all Members of Parliament, I urge that the Minister immediately put the law drafting process to the bi-partisan Parliament SPECIAL SELECT COMMITTEE ON FUNDAMENTAL LIBERTY AND CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS.

Pakatan Harapan has been advocating independence of Parliament dan Parliamentary reforms for many years. Our Pakatan Harapan Manifesto has clearly outlined proposals to reform the Parliament. We believe our ideas and experiences can contribute tremendously to draft these new laws.

However, drafting these 2 new laws is a long and tedious process. The PN2.0 Government has only 15 months left. It is unlikely the laws can be passed within that short period of time.

In addition, these reforms might never see the light of the day if there are no strong political wills. Perikatan Nasional 2.0 Government is fractious and unstable. While Minister YB Dr Wan Junaidi might have the conviction to reform, but he may not get the support of his coalition partners.

Meanwhile there is urgent need to transform the Parliament immediately.

Therefore I would like to call upon the Minister to focus on some immediate reforms which will benefit the Parliament immediately.

I call upon Minister and both Speakers of the Parliament to immediately increase Parliament sitting days.

Malaysia's Parliamentary sitting is one of the lowest in Westminster Parliamentary countries.

On average Malaysia's lower house sits only 68 days a year and upper house sits 26 days only a year. This year Dewan Rakyat will sit only 51 days if no more sudden closures.

For other commonwealth countries their typical Parliament sitting days range from 160 to 200 days.

I would like to call upon the Minister to immediately increase Dewan Rakyat sitting to 120 days and Dewan Negara sitting to 60 days.

This reform will immediately bring the Parliament to a vibrant democracy and bring the voices of the suffering people to be heard.

Sim Tze Tzin
MP Bayan Baru

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