Pakatan source confirms leaked list of parliamentary committees

Yiswaree Palansamy
Parliamentary select committees are empanelled with federal lawmakers tasked to study specific topics and report their findings back to the Dewan Rakyat. — Picture by Azneal Ishak

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 24 — A list of 10 parliamentary select committees circulating online is authentic, said a senior leader in the ruling Pakatan Harapan.

However, the highly-placed source explained that the list was a preliminary draft and the formation of the committees is not yet certain.

“It is correct,” the person told Malay Mail when asked to verify the list.

In a copy of the list sighted by Malay Mail, there were committees proposed to study the consideration of Bills; the economy; human rights; corruption; education; health; defence and home affairs; foreign affairs; and science, technology and environment.

Parliamentary select committees are empanelled with federal lawmakers tasked to study specific topics and report their findings back to the Dewan Rakyat.

The list did not state if these committees would be sessional or ad hoc.

Despite confirming the list, however, the source said not all 10 are likely to be realised.

“There is some truth in it, but they (government) will reduce the committee to six or seven,” the person said.

The Cabinet has yet to discuss the list, which the source said was likely drafted following a meeting involving Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk VK Liew, who is in charge of legal affairs.

“It will only be submitted in the next Parliament sitting,” the source added.

The source added the list was also reduced from the 18 that Pakatan Harapan lawmakers had proposed during the 13th Parliament.

However, all were rejected by Barisan Nasional that had been in power.

“It was shelved because ministers at that time were asking why should they answer to committees, and that they only answer to Cabinet and Parliament,” the source added.

Now that PH is the ruling power, the person said they intended to demonstrate their tenets of openness and accountability with action, hence the PSCS.

They were also a matter of pragmatism, the source explained.

“In the process, the number of sitting days will be reduced. Why? Because now you have specialists handling some matters in the PSCs,” the source added.

In the previous Parliament, the “stopping of the clock” — the artificial halting of the time to satisfy the legal requirement for parliamentary affairs to be settled in the same day — went from rarity to regular occasion.

Lawmakers were occasionally forced to stay on until nearly before dawn as the government then bulldozed its legislation through the Dewan Rakyat.

In an exclusive interview with Malay Mail earlier this month, Ariff said among his main goals was to revamp the structure of the PSCs in order to make lawmaking more efficient in general.

He proposed setting up committees with broad ambits instead of restricting these by ministries as was previously customary, in order to empower them to explore more diverse matters.

Among his proposed committees include some in the leaked list.

However, he stressed at the time that this was personal opinion.

PH lawmakers, when formerly in the Opposition, had repeatedly pressed the BN government then to form such committees, particularly to study proposed legislation before these were presented to Parliament.

They said this would reduce the pressure of Bills being presented at or near the same time while also allowing lawmakers more advance notice of incoming legislation, instead of being presented the Bills just before these are tabled.

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