25-Day Countdown to 13GE – Parliamentary Reforms and restoration of the doctrine of Separation of Powers

Under the Federal Constitution and in keeping with the concept of the Separation of Powers, Parliament consisting of the Dewan Rakyat and the Senate are the supreme law making bodies.

They constitute the Legislative branch of Government, other branches being the Executive and the Judiciary.

The supremacy and independence of Parliament are accepted concepts adopted and practiced by all Parliamentary democracies.

In the Malaysian system of governance, after over five-and-a-half decades of Umno/Barisan Nasional rule, the Executive branch has usurped power and turned Parliament into a subordinate institution thus trampling on the fundamental concept and principle of representative government.

Several aspects of the current scene merit mention.

The Dewan Rakyat is controlled by the Executive through a party appointee as Speaker who has largely ignored the voice of the minority – the Speaker has often denied the Opposition the right to debate “urgent and definite matters of public importance”; the Standing Orders have been amended over time to grant Government benches an advantage; Parliamentary time is distributed unevenly thus preventing the Opposition benches adequate time to debate issues of public interest and to provide the checks and balances that are a core feature of a Parliamentary democracy.

The centralization power in the hands of the Executive has enabled the emergence of an authoritarian system of government.

The absolute control exercised by the Executive has led to certain other practices. A particular practice concerns the manner in which Bills are introduced and enacted into laws.

Draft bills are made available to Members of Parliament literally at the eleventh hour; thus MPs have hardly any time to review complex pieces of legislation and are denied the opportunity to consult and seek inputs from the public. These processes do not allow for close scrutiny of proposed laws.

A further matter raising serious concerns relates to the practice of inserting a clause ” ….. the decision of the Minister shall not be questioned in any Court of law….” into legislation passed by Parliament.

This formulation has the effect of placing Ministers and in effect the “Little Napoleons” above the law and their actions beyond judicial review. This leads to abuse of due processes and enables the Executive branch to amass huge powers and avoid accountability.

This pernicious practice negates the concept of Separation of Powers and represents a serious deviation from the norms of a functioning Parliamentary democracy. Indeed, this practice is in contradiction to the spirit of the Constitution

A Pakatan Rakyat Government will take remedial steps that will restore the principles embodied in the Constitution.

The concept and principles of Separation of Powers, the Supremacy of Parliament as representing the will of the People will be restored through the following measures:

*The Speaker shall be a truly independent appointee not beholden to the Executive;

*The Dewan’ s Standing Orders shall be revised with the aim of creating an even playing field for the Executive and the Opposition to play their respective roles; the Opposition shall be granted an appropriate allocation of time to debate issues and policies;

*All Bills would be distributed two weeks ahead of the Second Reading with the establishment of Select Committees to permit more careful consideration and permit inputs from the public on proposed legislation;

*The practice of including clauses that empower Ministers and place them above the law shall cease with the objective of restoring the Separation of Powers;

*A review of all existing laws that provide extraordinary powers to Ministers shall be undertaken with the objective of repealing these provisions;

*Appointment of an Ombudsman and establishment of a Constitutional Court;

*Repeal of Official Secrets Act to be replaced by a Freedom of Information Act.

These proposals, when implemented, will contribute to the dismantling of centralization of powers in the hands of the Executive branch.

They will contribute to the emergence of a system of Government that is open, transparent and accountable. Better governance will strengthen democracy and prevent abuses associated with authoritarianism.

  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Sunday, 17 March 2013 - 9:40 am

    The simple matter really is that UMNO/BN can win the next GE and likely most other GE to come IF all they have to do put in BASIC checks against CORRUPTION..All they have to do is walk away from corruption and give themselves a high official paycheck just like Singapore do..

    BUT they can’t do it because THEIR ENTIRE SYSTEM is simply FUSED with corruption – completely ADDICTED..NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THEIR TOP leader can begin to change the system because THEY ARE ALL TAINTED AND VULNERABLE to attack if they attempt to change the system..

    There is no other way around this problem – the whole lot has got to be thrown out and rebuilt from the ground up with proper checks and balance..

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Sunday, 17 March 2013 - 10:17 am

    True reforms are only possible under a PR-led government.

  3. #3 by Winston on Sunday, 17 March 2013 - 12:03 pm

    The pent up fury of the Malaysian electorate will erupt this coming GE.
    And the volcanic eruption of Krakatoa will pale by comparison!

  4. #4 by worldpress on Sunday, 17 March 2013 - 2:34 pm

    Are you ready?

    Calling all Righteous Malaysians

    Make this coming election a ‘WAR AGAINST CORRUPTION’

  5. #5 by worldpress on Sunday, 17 March 2013 - 2:38 pm

    FREE Malaysians from corruption in this coming election

  6. #6 by cseng on Sunday, 17 March 2013 - 4:46 pm

    This is high level, parliamentary doctrine of seperation of power.

    At general rakyat levet, society doctrine of power seperation too. The society also seperated into 3 key controlling components, the authorities (uniform forces), the triads (underworld forces) and the “towkays” (forces of riches, tax payers).

    The ‘towkays’ power balanced by the triads, the power of triads balanced by the authorities, and power of authorities balanced by the ‘towkays’. This triangle stays balanced.

    But nowadays, it is not, the doctrine of seperation of powers were breached. Sometime the authorities subordinated to the triads, sometime they are the same, sometime the ‘towkays’ contolled both of them. So, now, cari makan susah la…

  7. #7 by chengho on Sunday, 17 March 2013 - 5:48 pm

    the latest status of GE, BN can get 2/3 majority , but Penang and Kelantan still with Dap and Pas . Anwar will not win in Permatang Pauh , Dapter need to give him safe seat , if your guy still need him the lead the opposition .

  8. #8 by tak tahan on Sunday, 17 March 2013 - 8:31 pm

    chengho,you’re always mumbling off topic la.Seriously,you need to have your head properly checked.Any voluntary doctor here for this fool?

  9. #9 by worldpress on Sunday, 17 March 2013 - 8:40 pm

    No need.it would be Better Malaysia without him

  10. #10 by cinaindiamelayubersatu on Sunday, 17 March 2013 - 9:59 pm

    the latest status of ge13, PR won by simple majority.perak regain n negeri sembilan captured.najib still win at pekan and become opposition leader (if you still fancy him).otherwise let muhyidin the corruptor

  11. #11 by Jeffrey on Monday, 18 March 2013 - 12:05 am

    “The Speaker shall be a truly independent appointee not beholden to the Executive” – Does that mean Pakatan, if it were incumbent, agrees to appoint Speaker from ranks of the Opposition? “The practice of including clauses that empower Ministers and place them above the law shall cease with the objective of restoring the Separation of Powers”. Ok that’s to curb’s Executive discretionary powers but why is it nothing much said about the other side of coin of how to strengthen Judicial independence – how judges are to be encouraged to be independent of political pressure/influence? Also what about the uneasy tension between Sharia and Civil/secular laws wrecking confusion on the many conversion cases. In a conflict, will Civil Courts prevail over Sharia Courts; does a Apex Civil Court have a say regarding whether a dispute between disputants of different faiths belongs more to Sharia jurisdiction or civil court?

  12. #12 by john on Monday, 18 March 2013 - 1:38 am

    MaMak Kutty is just ONE smartalec. He is not bother about the Rule and Law / Constitution of the Nation at all and had tampered with it endlessly. Even if is the established Rule and Law he’ll spite it if he wants to. What had and have taken place (just, just an eg. selective prosecution, ,,,,etc,,) already proven and shown that Democracy of this nation is in reality is “In Name Only”. MMKutty has rebranded it as “Bumnocrazy” in his own hand and his celups more than happy/willing adopt it whole lot. Bumnocrazy enriches, empower Bumno to rule over others separately – Bumno the masters,special class and rest ‘Rakyat’ becomes
    Only way, the least for the start is by A B U comes G13 and Pakatan Rakyat the ruling party then.
    Hence stay Focus on G13 and vote A B U.

  13. #13 by Noble House on Monday, 18 March 2013 - 3:43 am

    What experience and history teach is this: that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it. The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to the point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. Ownership of government by an individual, by a group or any controlling private power, in its essence, is fascism.

  14. #14 by lee tai king (previously dagen) on Monday, 18 March 2013 - 8:51 am

    Seperation of power is about the separation of the various organs of …

    pssst …

    huh? Yeah. Chengho? Wat about chengho? Oh his organs. They were more than seperated. A part of it has been severed a long time ago. But that has nothing to do with seperation of power.

    … dagenli, caught in a situation – trying to distinguish chengho’s organ seperation and power seperation.

  15. #15 by monsterball on Monday, 18 March 2013 - 12:48 pm

    Tak Tahan…I can get a doctor in USA to check Chengho for free.
    The problem is….Chengho thinks he is a genius..

  16. #16 by monsterball on Monday, 18 March 2013 - 12:53 pm

    Every Chengho decides to donate all his organs…especially the brain..when he expires….it will be very dangerous to accept the offer.
    The one who gets his any of his organs may become like chengho…one screw missing upstairs.

  17. #17 by monsterball on Monday, 18 March 2013 - 12:55 pm

    Dangerous to accept Chengho’s organs for transplant.
    He has reached 3rd stage never never land…..no cure…everyday dreaming.

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