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Call for a joint meeting of MPs from both Houses of Parliament over the “fait accompli” in the appointment of Parliament Head of Administration in utter disregard of the wishes of MPs from Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara and the fundamental doctrine of separation of powers
Media Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang
On 13th October 2005, history was made in Dewan Rakyat when all MPs, regardless of whether Barisan Nasional or Opposition (including several Deputy Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries) stood up spontaneously in response to the request by the Chairman of Barisan Nasional Backbenchers’ Club to show support for the revival of the Parliamentary Services Act.
The New Straits Times described it as “a momentous occasion”, “an uncommon meeting of minds” and “a rare show of solidarity” of Parliamentarians in upholding the fundamental doctrine for the clear separation of powers between Parliament and the Executive, which in practical terms, would mean that there would be no Executive interference in the administration and running of Parliament, such as the Executive’s creation of the new post of Parliament Head of Administration.
The “fait accompli” of the appointment of the Parliament Head of Administration who is superior in grade, salary and functions than the Parliament Secretary – for the past 46 years the head of administration of Parliament - would mean that the unanimous show of support of MPs on 13th October was a “historic” flop! It represented a most high-handed rejection by the Executive of unanimous parliamentary views not only over the issue of Parliamentary Services Act and the new Parliament Head of Administration, but also the principle that MPs have the independence and powers to manage their own parliamentary affairs.
If MPs do not have the independence and powers to manage their own parliamentary powers, how can they be effective and efficient in exercising oversight and supervision of the Executive to ensure that Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries and government officials are clean, incorruptible, competent, efficient, open and accountable.
It also means that the Senate House Committee decision on 14th October calling for the revival of the Parliamentary Services Act and to stop all moves to change the administrative structure of Parliament, including creating the new post of Head of Administration, had been thrown into the wastepaper basket without any serious consideration by the Executive.
It is sad that at a time when efforts should be made to transform the Malaysian Parliament into a First World Parliament, the fundamental doctrine of separation of powers upholding the powers and privileges of MPs to manage their own parliamentary affairs without Executive interference was being trampled in so blatant a fashion.
The Dewan Rakyat Speaker, Tan Sri Ramli Ngah and the Dewan Negara President, Tan Sri Dr. Abdul Hamid Pawanteh should meet to convene a joint meeting of MPs from both Houses to consider ways and means to uphold the independence and dignity of Parliament and the doctrine of separation of powers, particularly with regard to the imposition of a Parliament Head of Administration and the revival of the Parliamentary Services Act.
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