Do away with party politics, improve quality of debates, Speaker tells MPs

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Johari said every MP is responsible for highlighting the wishes of the people in the area they represent and should not just be champions for their respective political parties during debates. – Malay Mail photo

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 30): Ahead of the last day of the Dewan Rakyat sitting today, the Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Dr Johari Abdul wants members of parliament to do away with party politics and improve the quality of debate in the coming session.

He said every MP is responsible for highlighting the wishes of the people in the area they represent and should not just be champions for their respective political parties during debates.

“I would like to remind them that they are paid to come to the Dewan Rakyat to speak on behalf of the people. The moment you enter (session), that is the right of the people’s time and you have to speak for them.

“If we start being jokers, comedians in Parliament, eventually the community will make fun of us and what happens in Parliament… this is what we want to avoid,” he said on Bernama TV’s Ruang Bicara programme yesterday.

Johari said MPs also need to prepare themselves by reading about matters that will be brought to the Dewan so that the debate will be more fruitful and mature, thus leading to a more substantive discussion.

“For example, there may be a Bill presented by the minister that is flawed. With a good argument, the minister will make the necessary changes and amendments based on the views given,” said Johari, who is also the former Sungai Petani MP for three terms.

For that purpose, Johari said the Parliament is now in the process of preparing a training session on how to ask and how to prepare questions to MPs for the upcoming Dewan Rakyat session, which is scheduled to be held in February next year.

Johari said his office is currently in the process of preparing a more systematic Youth Parliament to increase the interest and involvement of young people.

“I am preparing a method for how they can contest. The total (Youth Members of Parliament) is 222, just like in Parliament (Dewan Rakyat). We are looking at how the youth community can be involved in electing Youth Members of Parliament (for their respective constituencies).

“Our hope is that after they enter the Youth Parliament, they will be members of the Dewan Rakyat from the party they like. Finally, we can see young people fill the Parliament with different qualities from now on,” he said.

Commenting on the success of Parliament for this year, Johari said that one of the things he was proud of was the empowerment of the role of the 10 Special Select Committees which successfully held more than 100 meetings besides opening Parliament to the public through an open day. – Bernama