Formation of a public body to regularly  monitor and audit parliamentary performance of Ministers and MPs will be an effective way to raise quality of parliamentary standards and accountability


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang
 

(Lumut,  Monday): There is a healthy public concern and interest about standards of parliamentary performance, which should be channelled into ensuring that the tenth Parliament is a millennium Parliament ushering Malaysia to become  a more democratic and reform-minded nation instead of being a  Jurassic Parliament operating with antiquated rules and regulations more  in keeping with a feudal society rather than a democratic one.

As a first step, MPs and Ministers must be made to account for their parliamentary performance.

I am disappointed that the Barisan Nasional  Backbenchers' Club (BBC)  president, Datuk Jamaluddin Mohd. Jarjis is only talking about a mechanism to monitor MPs' attendance in Parliament and their participation during each sitting and quality of the debates, but dare not make any mention about the need also to monitor Ministers' attendance as well as their parliamentary performance.

Jamaluddin was the Secretary of the BBC in the last Parliament. Can he explain what the BBC had done in the previous Parliament  to ensure that Ministers and  MPs did not play truant from Parliament and that there is a high standard of parliamentary accountability and performance?

Apart from  internal  parliamentary mechanisms to ensure high  parliamentary standards of performance and accountability, the time has come for a public body to be established to regularly  monitor and audit parliamentary performance of Ministers and MPs to serve as  an effective way to raise quality of parliamentary standards and accountability.

Such a body, which could be called Parliamentary Audit Committee (PAC), should comprise Malaysians who are interested in ensuring in strengthening parliamentary democracy by having a meaningful and relevant Parliament - with Ministers and MPs diligently discharging their parliamentary duties.

A meaningful upgrading of parliamentary standards and accountability must involve far-reaching parliamentary reforms.

For a start, Parliament should form about 25 Specialised Select Committees and four General Select Committees to make MPs more effective and relevant to the needs of the people and country.

Malaysia should emulate other Commonwealth Parliaments which have established a specialised committee for almost every Ministry to give greater meaning to the principle of parliamentary control and scrutiny of the Executive.

Such a committee system will make a great difference in the effectiveness of each individual MPís work in Parliament, as members would gain real knowledge of certain subjects and become truly effective in those spheres.

Apart from the formation of 25 Specialist Select Committees to make every Minister answerable to a Select Committee, there should be four general Select Committees, viz:
 

The Barisan Nasional Government should table annual reports on women agenda, mass media, information technology and corruption  to Parliament - followed by an annual parliamentary debate on the reports.

(27/12/99)


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman