(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): DAP supports the amendment to the Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders to introduce morning sittings for the October Budget meeting onwards, which will increase the daily Parliamentary sitting from four to six hours, i.e. sitting daily from 9.30 am. to 12.30 p.m. and from 2.30 p.m. until 5.30 p.m. instread of the present four-hour sitting from 2.30 p.m. to 6.30 p.m.
DAP welcomes the proposal for a six-hour daily parliamentary sitting as it is definitely an improvement on a daily four-hour sitting, provided it is not an excuse to cut down the number of meetings during a session, resulting in the reduction of the total parliamentary meeting hours in a year.
DAP, however, cannot support amendments which are retrogressive and even more undemocratic, making the Malaysian Parliament a mockery in the Commonwealth Parliament.
Some of the proposed amendments contained in the Prime Ministerís motion which was moved by the Defence Minister, Datuk Syed Hamid Albar on Monday treat Members of Parliament like school children, as in reducing from 20 to 10 the number of oral questions an MP can ask at each parliamentary meeting - which can be as long as 50 days during the budget meeting and the highly ridiculous proposals limiting oral questions to not more than 40 words and motions of urgent, definite public importance to not more than 300 words.
All MPs, whether government or opposition, should feel greatly insulted to be treated like school children as I have never seen the Dewan Rakyat treated so shabbily in my 29 years as an MP.
The present Parliamentary meeting should pass an amendment to the Standing Orders to introduce the morning sittings for the Dewan Rakyat in the October budget meeting, but all other amendments to the Standing Orders should be deferred until the October Parliament.
This will give time to MPs to consider wide-ranging proposals for parliamentary reforms which is four-decades long overdue to start the process of modernisation of parliamentary procedures and practices to make Parliament a more effective and meaningful legislative and deliberate chamber to convince Malaysians that Parliament is playing its true and proper role in our system of parliamentary democracy.