KUALA LUMPUR, June 8 — Excluding input and views from Opposition parties in the newly established Hybrid Parliament Special Committee risks seeing the nation’s legislative body turned into a “rubber stamp” Parliament, warns DAP’s Lim Guan Eng.
In a statement today, the DAP secretary-general said all lawmakers have every right to be part of the legislative process as prescribed under the Constitution and barring them from exercising such a right is akin to violating parliamentary convention and abuse of power.
“The Opposition Leader or his representative is not included to determine the nature, shape and form of this new hybrid Parliament. Neither is there any inclusion of the Parliament Standing Order Committee, established under Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders 78, to determine any amendments to the Standing Orders.
“Parliament Standing Orders Committee comprises representatives from the Opposition to uphold the basic principle that Parliament belongs to all MPs, whether from the government or the Opposition. By right, the Parliament Standing Orders Committee should be involved and meet since the formation of a hybrid Parliament would necessitate amendments to the current Standing Orders.
“Excluding Opposition MPs on what the hybrid Parliament entails, is a violation of Parliamentary convention and an abuse of power that erodes the fundamental basis of Parliament as a fountain of democracy. Opposition MPs are as much part of the legislative branch of the Federal Constitution as government MPs,’’ said Lim, who is also the MP for Bagan.
This follows after Dewan Negara President Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim revealed yesterday that a Special Committee[a] is looking into the concept and method for implementing hybrid Parliament sittings, including by taking into account the experiences of legislative bodies in countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia.
Rais said several key aspects are being analysed by the committee, particularly in terms of interpretation and implementation, for adaptation to avoid violating the standard operating procedure (SOP) which is in place to curb the spread of Covid-19.
According to Rais, the Special Committee members include the Dewan Negara President, Dewan Rakyat Speaker, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Dewan Negara Deputy President, both Deputy Speakers of Dewan Rakyat and Parliament chief administrator.
Rais however did not elaborate further as to whether the committee will comprise other MPs including those from Opposition parties.