As the elected national assembly, Parliament should improve its function of scrutiny of Government by reforming the present framework - first-world building must occur concurrently with first-world parliamentary mentality

by Dr Tan Seng Giaw

(Parliament House,  Friday): Malaysia calls itself a parliamentary democracy. It is a form of representative democracy based on a free choice between candidates. It is defined as a democratic system in which government is drawn from and is answerable to Parliament, distinguishing it from one-party states. 

In the independence of Legislative, Executive and Judiciary, there must be parliamentary sovereignty. We require reform to ensure the right of Parliament to make or unmake any law whatever. No person or body has a right to override or set aside the legislation of Parliament. The right or power of Parliament extends to every part of Malaysia.


The 91% majority of the Barisan Nasional makes it difficult for Parliament to be genuinely independent and parliamentary sovereignty to be truly meaningful. However, for the future of parliamentary democracy, we must strive to reform Parliament no matter how long and difficult it is to achieve.


The outline of reform includes:

  1. Upgrading of the ICT in Parliament consistent with the modern world.

  2. Review of the staffing and administrative system of parliament.

  3. Staffing of Public Accounts Committee.

  4. Select committees. Enhanced roles. Bipartisan basis. Better resources in terms of staff and research. Consider proposed legislation at an earlier stage. Better information about legislative proposals and government financial affairs. Overcome under-resourcing and lack of facilities including secretarial.

  5. Timetable for bills, budget debates and motions.

  6. Televising of Parliament and its committees.

  7. Facilities for members.

  8. Meaningful allocations for Parliament, cost-effective for the tax-payers.



* Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong