Dewan Rakyat Speaker looking into ways to deter absenteeism among MPs

06 Oct 2023 05:31pm
Parliament Building - FILEPIC
Parliament Building - FILEPIC
KUALA LUMPUR - Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Johari Abdul said he was seriously looking into ways, including the idea of cutting the Member of Parliament’s (MPs) allowance if they were continuously absent when Parliament is in session.

Johari said he would need to come up with something more stringent to improve the attendance of MPs, as they have a duty and responsibility to their constituents and constituency.

He said there were suggestions, including from the former Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof, who wants the Parliament Standing Orders to be amended to facilitate the implementation of such action.

”I think it is quite reasonable because, at the moment, we don't have that, meaning MPs are free and easy. After clocking in for a while, they leave, which is not fair,” the former Gurun assemblyman said, adding that he was also willing to improve transparency by putting the MPs attendance record on the Parliament websites.

"But I have to look into the legal part to see whether it is possible or not, but certainly to me personally, yes it should be, but again, as I said, I have to look into the mechanism and the law as well as the Standing Order before such action,” he said at the Concorde Club meeting today.

The Concorde Club is an informal gathering of a group of editors and senior journalists with politicians and key policymakers and among those present today was newly-appointed Bernama Chairman Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai.

On Aug 29, Johari was reportedly mulling the idea of docking the allowance of MPs if they were absent in Parliament during sessions as a way to deter absenteeism among the lawmakers. According to him, sometimes MPs are absent for days, but he does not have the authority to penalise them, although they are paid with RM500 daily allowances.

Meanwhile, Johari hoped that the upcoming Parliamentary session, which starts on Oct 9, will be filled with quality debates and ideas for building the nation.

"If you want to move forward, you have to talk about nation-building, the future, and the ideas for the years to come. That is what MPs are all about, because if you get stuck with small issues, then we go nowhere.
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"Furthermore, a survey has shown that young people are getting interested in listening to the debate so that they know what's going on in Parliament. So, I think it is important to show good values,” he said.

On the cabinet reshuffle, Johari said he had no idea about it, but he is fully aware that the senatorship of one or two ministers will be expiring soon, thus might pave way the way for a reshuffle.

"Whether the Prime Minister wants to fill the position or not, I don’t know. Another thing is that the post for the Minister of Domestic Trade and Cost of Living has not been filled yet after the passing of Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub. We need someone to take care of the ministry without burdening other ministers,” he said. - BERNAMA