Immediate response by Liew Chin Tong in Penang on Tuesday, 25th November 2008:

Select Committees should be formed immediately 

Parliamentary Select Committees should be formed to facilitate bipartisan approach towards issues of grave concerns to the nation while Committees of the last Parliament which have not completed their tasks should be revived immediately.

I have asked the Prime Minister on whether Select Committees would be formed in this Parliament and whether Committees of the previous term which have yet to complete its tasks would be revived.

The reply by Minister in Prime Minister's Department Dato' Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz stated that the Government wishes to do so but "any such decision needed detailed planning so that it can be conducted smoothly."

Further, according to the Minister, the Government also intends to revive the Committees of the last Parliament which have yet to complete its duties.

There are at least three Committees of the last Parliament, namely, 1) Committee on National Unity; 2) Committee on Integrity; and 3) Committee on the Ethics of Members of Parliament while the Committee of Criminal Procedure Act and Penal Code had completed its task in 2006.

As this Parliamentary session (year) is nearing its end, the Government owes Members of Parliament and the wider public an answer the reason behind the delay in the revival and formation of these Committees.

Parliamentary Committee is an integral part of any mature and functioning parliament and a parliament without a committee system would not function efficiently.

In order to improve the level of participation of MPs in policy processes, all Ministries should be subjected to the scrutiny of Parliamentary Committees.

Committee may be formed around policy subjects, for instance, a Committee on Security may scrutinise the Ministries of Home and Defense, while a Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade may scrutinise the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and MITI.

Apart from reviving Committees of the past Parliament, I urge the Government to form the first batch of new Select Committees on issues of burning concerns of the nation, namely

1) Parliamentary Reforms;

2) Crime Prevention;

3) Citizenship in Sabah;

4) Education;

5) Competitiveness.

* Liew Chin Tong, DAP International Secretary & MP for Bukit Bendera