Dewan Rakyat passes motion to set up nine Special Select Committees
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 — The Dewan Rakyat today passed a motion to establish nine new Special Select Committees to replace the existing 10 committees.
The new Special Select Committees are the Basic Freedoms and Rights under the Constitution; Finance and Economy; Security; Agencies under the Prime Minister’s Department; Agriculture and Domestic Trade; Infrastructure Development; Education; Health, Science and Innovation; and Women and Children Affairs and Social Development.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan, when tabling the motion, said that the new committees would consist of seven members including the chairman, appointed for a two-year term, that would serve as checks and balances for all ministries.
“These Special Select Committees have the powers to summon individuals for statements and views on matters related to the scope of the respective committees, subject to the Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders,” he said.
Takiyuddin said that the report or statement issued as a result of an investigation conducted by a Special Select Committee can be proposed to be tabled, debated and approved at the Dewan Rakyat.
He also said that the Dewan Rakyat Select Committee in the Parliament’s Management Division will be set up to serve as a secretariat to the newly-formed committees to enable them to function smoothly and effectively.
Apart from that, he said that the All Party Parliamentary Group Malaysia will be maintained through compliance with the rules and guidelines set.
The motion was then debated by 10 opposition MPs, who raised, among others, the absence of several previous special committees as well as the composition of the committees, involving five MPs from government and two from the opposition, which they claimed did not reflect the majority in the Dewan Rakyat.
Takiyuddin, in his reply, said that MPs could submit a proposal for the re-establishment of a special select committee to the Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun, to be refined and debated in the House Committee.
On the composition of the committee members, he said that it was a common practice including during the administration of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.
“During the PH government, for example, out of 12 PAC (Public Accounts Committee) members, eight were from the government, only four from the opposition,” he said.
Commenting on Hannah Yeoh (PH-Segambut)’s proposal that MPs with positions in government-linked companies should not be appointed in the committee to avoid conflicts of interest, Takiyuddin said that the matter was not covered by the law.
The previous 10 special select committees established under the PH government were Budget; Consideration of Bills; Defence and Home Affairs; Gender Equality and Family Development; States and Federal Relations; Major Public Appointments; Election; Human Rights and Constitutional Affairs; International Relations and Trade; and Science, Innovation and Environment.