Selangor Journal
The Parliament building of Malaysia, on May 18, 2020. — Picture by BERNAMA

Cabinet gives nod in principle to three matters on Parliamentary reform

PUTRAJAYA, June 3 — The Cabinet has agreed in principle to three matters under the proposed parliamentary reform, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Parliament) Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

These matters, discussed at its meeting on Wednesday (June 1), involved the formulation of the Parliamentary Services Act, amendments to the House of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952 (Act 347) and a draft of the Code of Ethics for Members of Parliament, he said in a statement today.

Wan Junaidi said the proposed Parliamentary Services Act would consider setting up the Parliamentary Services Commission as part of the Parliament administration which has the autonomy to determine policies and governance of the Parliament of Malaysia.

Among the matters to be studied are the proposals to set up a Parliamentary Services Scheme and obtain financial resources and an annual budget for Parliament from the Consolidated Fund regulated by the Parliamentary Services Commission itself, in line with the principle of separation of powers.

According to the minister, the Parliamentary Services Act 1963 was repealed via the Constitutional (Amendment) Act 1992 [Act A837] effective Nov 20, 1993, where the abolition was to meet the need then to open the closed parliamentary service to the federal public service.

Wan Junaidi said amendments to the House of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952 (Act 347) were seen as important to make the act more relevant and suitable to the current situation.

He said the act was formulated in 1952 as the House of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Ordinance 1952 and amended in 1953 before it was enforced in the same year. Then in 1988, a review was made to change the ordinance to the existing Act 347.

“Apart from that, no amendments have been made since 1953,” Wan Junaidi added.

Act 347 concerns the powers and privileges of the House of Parliament, the freedom to speak and debate in House proceedings, and the protection of people hired for the service of broadcasting papers of the House.

He said amendments to the act would contain provisions for barring MPs who have been charged in court from attending activities of the House.

“It is still being refined to adapt to developments and existing regulations of the Dewan Rakyat,” Wan Junaidi said.

He added that he suggested the Code of Ethics for Members of Parliament be drawn up, which is different from the provisions of the House of Parliament Standing Orders.

The code of ethics would outline a more detailed guide on the conduct and discipline of MPs inside and outside the House, as was practised in several other countries, Wan Junaidi said.

“The proposal to introduce this code of ethics is in line with the practice in other countries, including India and New Zealand,” he said.

Following the Cabinet decision, Wan Junaidi said he had asked the Dewan Negara president and Dewan Rakyat Speaker to call for meetings of the committees they chaired to decide on the framework and engagement with stakeholders connected with the relevant laws.

— Bernama

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