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Mohd Baria should remain as DG in the National Service Department until
the controversy over the new post of Parliament Head of Administration has
been resolved, particularly over its dubious constitutionality as well as
being in breach of parliamentary privileges
On Wednesday, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz announced Kamaruddin’s appointment as Parliament Head of Administration, saying that his appointment was made by the Yang di Pertuan Agong like the appointments of the Clerks of the two Houses of Parliament, taking effect from September 15. (Utusan Malaysia 13.10.05)
Kamaruddin’s appointment is of dubious constitutionality for three reasons:
(i) Article 65 (2) of the Federal Constitution makes it very clear that “The Clerk to the Senate and the Clerk to the House of Representatives shall be appointed by the Yang di Pertuan Agong from among members of the general public service of the Federation”. The post of Parliament Head of Administration is not provided for in the Constitution.
(ii) For 46 years since Malaysia’s First Parliament in 1959, the Setiausaha Parlimen, the Clerk to the House of Representatives, is the administrative head of Parliament, while the Clerk to the Senate the Timbalan Setiausaha Parlimen. What is the constitutionality of a post not provided for in the Federal Constitution to be made superior to the two constitutionally-sanctioned posts of Clerk of Dewan Rakyat and Clerk of Senate for Parliament – to the extent of hijacking all their traditional administrative role, functions and powers?
For the past week,
Nazri had been talking about the creation of a “Director-General” for
Department of Parliament, and it was only two days ago that he substituted
the term “Parliament Head of Administration”. If the appointment to the
controversial new post was made by the Yang di Pertuan Agong, where is the
official documentation, and was the appointment originally for a
Director-General with effect from Sept. 15 but subsequently amended to
“Parliament Head of Administration”? All these necessary documentation
should be presented to the satisfaction of MPs.
The appointment of a Parliament Head of Administration to hijack the administrative role, functions and powers of the 46-year administrative head of Parliament, i.e. the Setiausaha Parlimen, without consultation and approval of both Houses of Parliament is a contempt of Parliament violating the rights and privileges of MPs in the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara.
In countries where the doctrine of the separation of powers is taken seriously and the principle of parliamentary independence and autonomy not trifled with by any Cabinet Minister, Nazri would have been referred to the Committee of Privileges for gross breaches of privilege on multiple counts – of MPs in Dewan Rakyat, Senators in Dewan Negara and the institution of Parliament as a whole.
In fact the imposition of a post on Parliament not provided for in the Federal Constitution, to be superior to the two constitutionally-sanctioned posts of Clerks to Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara, constitutes an affront and even assault to the sanctity of the Federal Constitution.
The Cabinet should seek the advice of the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Gani Patail, on the strong objections to the creation of the new post of “Parliament Head of Administration” on the two grounds of its dubious constitutionality and being in breach of parliamentary privileges before the Malaysian Parliament and Malaysian parliamentary democracy become an international laughing-stock.
Kamaruddin should in the meanwhile stay put in his old post and not come to Parliament until the controversy of his new appointment has been sorted out to the satisfaction of MPs.
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