Media Release: Right Steps in Parliamentary Select Committee to Enhancing a Participatory Parliament



Press Statement 08 August 2018

PETALING JAYA (Wednesday): C4 Center is encouraged by the announcements in Parliament yesterday on establishing a Parliamentary Select Committee, which it recognises as a crucial part of a functioning and viable parliamentary democracy that works for the betterment of the people.  

“This is a very welcome development towards a functioning democracy. Parliamentary Special Select Committees are vital because they promote in depth discussion, allowing backbencher MPs to contribute and give feedback effectively.  It is also the first line of check and balance for a bipartisan Parliamentary system.”

Cynthia Gabriel, C4 Center

Yesterday, the Pakatan Harapan government announced the appointment of the first Parliamentary Select Committee and their 6-member team, inclusive of Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as opposition leader.

Historically, the legal framework for parliamentary select committees exist under the Parliament’s Standing Orders. However, important bills are rarely sent to a parliamentary committee for deeper examination and scrutiny; in reality, the Executive wing and the Attorney General’s chambers of the previous government was primarily responsible for the drafting of law, while Parliament appeared compromised by the numbers game, and the Upper House merely rubberstamps bills to become law.

In other democracies, parliamentary select committees also monitor executive agencies and have the powers to call up ministry representatives for questioning on their respective key areas.

As a leading anti-graft group, we recommend strongly that anti-corruption and financial integrity matters get fast tracked as an important issue under the new select committee. The new select committee needs to actively work to track the progress, independence and capabilities of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and other financial institutions. 

This is essential because the work of this select committee will without a doubt enhance the role of the Public Accounts Committee. While this is a bi-partisan committee, we further urge the inclusion of key stakeholders and experts into the committee.

This is also in line with Promise 16 of the Pakatan Manifesto which states that “we will institutionalise the Select Committee system in Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara”.

C4 Center is indeed encouraged at this development for New Malaysia, and looks forward to further positive progress in parliamentary reform, which will be key to creating a sea-change in government culture that is transparent, accountable, and views the rakyat as important partners.

Released by:
Cynthia Gabriel (Ms.)
Executive Director, C4 Center