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should be Minister for “First-World” Parliament and not Minister for
Parliament toilets and canteen
At the “Save Parliament Roundtable” yesterday, Nazri clarified that there will not be a Department of Parliament and blamed the five-day “confusion” over “’jabatan’ with a small ‘j’ (office) not capital ‘J’ (full-fledged department)” on journalists who were “not on the same wavelength” with him,
Whether small ‘j’ or capital ‘J’, whether full-fledged department or an office of Parliament, the intent of the Cabinet decision remains unchanged – which is to hijack the traditional administrative powers and functions of Parliament by an administrative fiat, without consultation or approval from Parliament, both Houses of Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara, as well as the civil society.
For the same reason, the objection to the administrative hijack of Parliament by the Executive remains intact – that it represents an unacceptable and intolerable assault on the doctrine of the separation of powers pertaining to Parliament – undermining and even destroying the parliamentary administrative structures and dynamics underpinning whatever little left of parliamentary independence and autonomy in Malaysia.
The administrative hijack of Palriament, whether by small ‘j’ (office) or capital ‘J’ (department) of Parliament is completely indefensible, insupportable and should be dropped.
I support a department or office of parliamentary affairs directly under the jurisdiction of Nazri to help the Minister discharge his Cabinet duties to ensure more efficient and productive transaction of government business in Parliament, but there must be no usurpation of the role, functions and powers of Parliament, including the administrative aspect of Parliament.
Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi chose to make his maiden official speech in Parliament when he became the fifth Prime Minister to send the clear, unmistakable and powerful message that he wants to restore Parliament to the centrality of the system of parliamentary democracy and governance in Malaysia. This was also why he made the solemn pledge in his maiden official speech on November 3, 2003 to respect and uphold the doctrine of the separation of powers as the cornerstone of parliamentary democracy in Malaysia.
Abdullah’s appointment of a Minister with the specific portfolio of parliamentary affairs is bold, unprecedented and most imaginative, reflecting his vision to halt and reverse the undemocratic trend of the relentless marginalization of Parliament caused by unceasing attack of the doctrine of separation of powers in the past, and setting the Malaysian Parliament firmly and solidly on the road of reform and modernization to join the ranks of “First World” Parliament.
Nazri seems to have lost his way and bearings 18 months as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department specifically in charge of parliamentary affairs. I call on Nazri to forget about wanting to be a Minister for parliamentary toilets and canteen when he should be putting his ministerial and political career on the line by inviting parliamentarians and the Malaysian public to judge the success or otherwise of his new Cabinet responsibility solely on the results of his efforts to propel the Malaysian Parliament towards a “First World Parliament”.
The roundtable of MPs and civil society representatives yesterday reached a three-point consensus, viz:
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP
Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission
Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman