A Speaker must uphold the tradition of impartiality, so as to be able to maintain order in debate
by Dr Tan Seng Giaw
(Kuala Lumpur, Saturday): The Speaker of the House of Representatives is the chairman of the highest body in the country. He or she must ensure that the institution runs smoothly, effectively and fairly. He must be truly impartial. Today, I am going to touch on M+++ values and outlook as well as the need for impartiality. M represents Malaysian Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in the globalized and plural world.
As the Chairman of 218 members, the Speaker must be knowledgeable, having a wealth of experience on Parliament. A veteran Member has many years of experience, regardless of his or her party. Once elected, he or she must maintain the tradition of impartiality in the Speakership. He or she should renounce his or her party allegiance and become really independent.
To meet the modern needs, the Speaker must be a Member of Parliament, having his or her own constituency, otherwise how does he or she know the actual conditions in which members operate? In England, the Speaker who wishes to remain in the office is obliged to stand in a general election. He or she does not campaign, but stands as ‘Mr Speaker seeking re-election’. There is no one to challenge him or her.
Besides the spirit of impartiality, the Speaker must have M+++ values and outlook. In order to bring about order of debate in the ICT world, he or she must have multiracial cultural values, including universal values. On the one hand, he or she must have his or her own cultural root. On the other hand, he or she must respect and absorb good cultural values from other races, without cultural and racial discriminations or superiority. While M stands for Malaysian modern ICT world. (1)+ represents the Speaker’s own cultural root; (2)+ denotes respect and adoption of cultural values of other races; (3)+ shows knowledge of ICT, being adept at computer and Internet.
Having imbued universal values and outlook, and being conversant with Internet and other aspects of ICT, he or she must be in the forefront. For example, recently the House has installed broadband and wireless facilities. Hitherto, few members are using them.
* Dr Tan Seng Giaw, DAP National Deputy Chairman and MP for Kepong