Govt, opposition MPs slam Speaker’s idea to name absent MPs in Parliament

MEMBERS of Parliament (MPs) from both the government and opposition bloc have slammed Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Johari Abdul’s idea to publish the names of MPs who are absent from parliamentary sittings.

According to them, the idea is akin to the treatment of school children and is inappropriate given that the role of an MP is not limited to only attending meetings but also involve a great deal of responsibility to voters and constituencies in Parliament that they represented.

In saying that Johari’s idea is not the reform that the Parliament needs, PKR’s Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Abdul Karim pointed out that the Dewan Rakyat needs more significant reforms, including restoring the Parliamentary Services Act.

“This will make Parliament independent from the executive so it can function effectively in line with the doctrine of the separation of powers,” Hassan was reported as saying by FMT today (Nov 6).

“MPs need a Speaker, not a class monitor. A Speaker must have the vision to establish a more meaningful parliamentary democracy.”

Hassan said, in fact, MPs who don’t hold any portfolio in the Cabinet also have other roles including having to attend Parliamentary Special Select Committee (PSSC) meetings which take place simultaneously when Parliament is in session.

“We are not only lawmakers, but we also carry other trusts that require the presence of an MP. So, we didn’t deliberately choose not to attend the Parliament sittings, but we have strong reasons for doing so,” Hassan was quoted as saying by Utusan Malaysia today (Nov 6).

Bersatu’s Machang MP Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad also disagreed with Johari’s idea, claiming that Parliament sessions are not school sessions.

“The idea was unnecessary even though it was intended to increase the attendance of MPs in the Dewan Rakyat session.

“There are times when MPs need to be in their respective constitution, especially during times of emergency such as floods and natural disasters,” the Bersatu Youth chief remarked.

Meanwhile, PAS’ Alor Setar MP Afnan Hamimi Taib Azamudden pointed out that the plan to name MPs absent from Dewan Rakyat sittings must include ministers and deputy ministers.

“The reason for their absence must also be listed, for example, an illness, official government business and so on.

“This would prevent people from having the wrong perceptions about those who could not attend parliamentary sittings,” the PAS Youth chief was quoted as saying by FMT today (Nov 6).

On Saturday (Mov 4), Johari said the names of MPs who skip parliamentary sittings will be displayed on the Dewan Rakyat website for the benefit of their constituents.

He said he would discuss the idea with a parliamentary committee which includes MPs from the government and opposition blocs.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said he will leave the decision of publicly disclosing the names of MPs who intentionally miss parliamentary sittings to the Dewan Rakyat speaker.

“I leave it to the discretion of the Speaker,” he told reporters after launching the Malaysian Digital Expo 2023 Grand Finale today (Nov 6). – Nov 6, 2023


Main pic credit: Bernama

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