Give time for Parliament to prepare for sitting

KUCHING: Parliament has to be accorded time to resolve issues for it to reconvene in a hybrid setting, said veteran lawmaker Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

“Though Parliament has the right to regulate its own internal affairs, it should not be seen to abandon its own laws and Standing Orders blatantly. So, we have to give time for Parliament to come up with ways to overcome the problem,” he said.

The Santubong MP said the Parliament Select Committee (PSC) on Standing Orders and Rules has to convene a meeting to review the Standing Orders & Rules and make necessary amendments.

“This is to accommodate the requirements in three main areas — seating and the right to speak, the immunity under Article 63 of the Federal Constitution so the MPs have equal protection under the law as members of the House, and to design an arrangement for voting in cases where a decision requires such voting.

“That is the reason for a committee to be formed in Parliament, to answer and to prepare for whatever kind of meeting Parliament later decides.

“Once they agree on the kind of meeting, physical or virtual or hybrid, then the committee will have to tell the government on infrastructure to be arranged,” he told New Sarawak Tribune today.

Wan Junaidi said if a hybrid or virtual sitting is agreed on, a voluminous amendment to Standing Orders & Rules has to be proposed and submitted to the attorney general’s office for it to be enacted.

“Once the amendments are made, the new order and rules are to be tabled at Dewan Rakyat for the Dewan’s approval and endorsement. Once it is passed, then Parliament can meet,” he said.

The former Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker said the other aspect is the MPs entitlement to transportation, accommodation and allowance during meeting.

“Under the present set of laws, statute or orders meant they could not claim those rights as they must check in at the Parliament building.

“Parliament is also subject to the auditor general’s scrutiny and auditing. All those relevant laws, statutes and orders need to be amended,” he said.

Wan Junaidi said once all these amendments and arrangements were made, only then the Speaker would discuss with the Leader of the House, which is the prime minister, to decide on the date of sitting.