'Some MPs only clock in their attendance for less than a minute and then leave'

07 Nov 2023 12:00pm

THE government has been challenged to swiftly implement the proposal by Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Johari Abdul to display intentionally absent Members of Parliament (MPs) on the Dewan Rakyat website.

Pasir Mas MP Ahmad Fadhli Shaari expressed support for the suggestion, but believes its implementation may be challenging given that the majority of MPs who have been intentionally absent from parliamentary sessions are from the government bloc.

"Therefore, I not only agree with Johari's suggestion but I also challenge the government to implement it promptly if they are truly courageous," the Pas Information Chief told Sinar when contacted.

He made these comments while responding to Johari's proposal presented last Friday.

According to the former Sungai Petani MP, this initiative is intended to inform the public about the commitment of each MP in carrying out their genuine responsibilities.

Johari clarified that this is one of the improvements that will be implemented to enhance the attendance of MPs in the Dewan Rakyat.

He added that the proposal will be discussed with the parliamentary committee, which also includes Opposition representatives.

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The proposal emerged amid the chaos in the Dewan Rakyat on Oct 25 when the debate session on the Supply Bill 2024 was delayed for two minutes in the evening due to a lack of quorum.

A quorum of 26 people is sufficient to allow a parliamentary session to proceed.

This was the second occurrence during the parliamentary session that began on Oct 9.

On Oct 19, the session was temporarily adjourned as the quorum was insufficient.

Apart from the issue of insufficient quorum in the Dewan Rakyat, there is also concern that some MPs are neglecting their responsibilities in representing the people's concerns during parliamentary debates, instead focusing on personal and party matters.

Meanwhile, Masjid Tanah MP Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin believes that the Dewan Rakyat Speaker should provide a more detailed explanation regarding the mechanism and standards used to determine the attendance status of MPs at each parliamentary session.

Mas Ermieyati noted that many MPs who do not hold ministerial or deputy ministerial positions still need to fulfill their responsibilities as members of various parliamentary committees, including the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

She questioned whether her decision to fulfill the responsibility of attending every PAC proceeding meeting and only being able to participate in the parliamentary debate session late in the evening would be considered absent.

"For example, I am the PAC Chairperson and I always have to attend every proceeding meeting held in the Parliament building.

"Every time a proceeding meeting is taking place, I find it challenging to participate in the entire parliamentary debate session on that particular day due to the busyness of fulfilling PAC duties.

"My question is whether my decision to fulfill the responsibility of attending every PAC proceeding meeting and only being able to participate in the parliamentary debate session late in the evening is considered absent.

"I believe the Speaker needs to clarify the definition of absent in more detail," the Bersatu Srikandi Wing deputy chief said.

Mas Ermieyati also questioned the status of the actions of some MPs who only clock in their attendance in the Dewan Rakyat for less than a minute and then leave, whether they are considered absent or not.

"We also want to know what the standard for determining non-absent status is.

"Another example is whether any MP who simply sits in the session all day without participating in the debate at all can be considered not absent?

"There is also a question of whether ministers and deputy ministers will be given the privilege of not attending any parliamentary session on the grounds of serving the country.

"Still, MPs who are forced not to attend to manage private companies or provide services to the people in their respective areas will be considered absent," she further argued.

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