Move is afoot to make the Parliament independent administratively-by reviving the Parliamentary Services Act which was dropped years ago. So: if this can be done for Parliament-why it can’t be done for the supposedly independent Election Commission?
Giving Parliament more independence
With Parliament running its own administration, staffing and financing it would cease to look like another government department.
KUALA LUMPUR: Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar is all for the reintroduction of the Parliamentary Services Act (PSA) which will give Parliament its independence.
The PSA 1963 is an act providing for the Parliament of Malaysia to conduct its own administration, staffing and financing.
The act was repealed in 1992 after the then Dewan Rakya speaker Zahir Ismail unilaterally had it removed from the books.
“We are looking into the Privileges and Powers Act 1952, Members of Parliament (Remuneration) Act 1980 and will reintroduce Parliamentary Services Act 1963,” Junaidi said at a forum held in Parliament today.
The call to reintroduce the act was made by the then opposition leader Lim Kit Siang in 2005 on the grounds that Parliament was becoming another government department.
The forum, entitled “Strengthening democratic institutions and human rights compliance in Malaysia: Towards the 13th general election and electing human rights-friendly MPs” was organised by Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Manusia (Proham).
Junaidi said that while Malaysia wholly accepted the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy, it did not attempt to reform its laws like the UK did way back in 1985.
‘All must respect the law’
Junaidi also said that the Members of Parliament (Remuneration) Act 1980 would be looked into as the lawmakers wanted more allocations to employ researchers.
Junaidi added that the draft recommendations would be sent to the speaker and it would take nine months before it becomes statutes.
Meanwhile, Beruas MP Ngeh Koo Ham told the forum that all institutions should respect the law and be aware of its limits within a democracy.
He said the institutions should also include the royalty. Other institutions are the judiciary, executive, legislative and government agencies.
“The palace must also respect what the law has defined. It had interfered in the appointment of a menteri besar,” said Ngeh, citing the 2008 Terengganu crisis.
He said that this had created problems because such appointments would have to be negotiated at party level before being presented to the sultan.
The Terengganu sultan, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin, had disagreed with the appointment of Idris Jusoh as Menteri Besar and had instead appointed Ahmad Said to lead the state government.