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Call on Prime Minister to suspend all implementation of the Cabinet decision to establish a Department of Parliament until approval by both Houses of Parliament and full assurance that it is not the most serious threat to the separation of powers doctrine pertaining to Parliament in nation’s history
The director-general for the Department of Parliament has already been appointed and is ready to move into Parliament next week to take over large chunks of powers and functions currently exercised by the parliamentary administration.
I am very disturbed and upset by this development, as it poses an unprecedented and the gravest threat to the doctrine of separation of powers concerning Parliament, and at the pace with which such a change with far-reaching implications for parliamentary democracy is being forced through without the fullest consultation with MPs, the civil society and the Malaysian populace.
Malaysia risks being the laughing-stock of the global parliamentary community as we would be the only country in Commonwealth Parliaments where there is a Department of Parliament which virtually runs Parliament, destroying its independence and autonomy.
India has a Ministry for Parliamentary Affairs but the Indian Department of Parliamentary Affairs is external and separate from Parliament, and its establishment does not encroach or usurp the powers of Parliament by the Executive. Its functions are clearly delimited to “efficiently handling diverse and enormous parliamentary work on behalf of the Government in Parliament” and not to virtually take over the running of Parliament.
I call on Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to suspend all implementation of the Cabinet decision to establish a Department of Parliament until MPs and civil society are satisfied that this is not the most serious threat to the separation of powers doctrine pertaining to Parliament in the nation’s history.
The designated director-general for the Department of Parliament should stay put in his present post, and no action should be taken to establish the Department of Parliament, until there is full approval by Parliament and the civil society - in particular the two Chambers of Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara.
In the case of Dewan Rakyat, the House Committee should convene an urgent meeting to discuss the import and implications of a Department of Parliament, submitting a report and recommendation to the House on how it would impinge on the doctrine of separation of powers affecting Parliament in general and the principle of parliamentary autonomy and independence in particular.
A full debate and decision by the Dewan Rakyat and the Dewan Negara are indispensable for the establishment of a Department of Parliament which will completely restructure the powers, functions and administration of Parliament.
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