Making Dewan Rakyat effective

By Patrick Lee, FMT

PETALING JAYA: With political rhetoric and agenda-spewing on a daily basis, many MPs on both sides of the political divide believe that Parliament has a long way to go.

Instead of talking about national or local issues, many MPs, according to Cameron Highlands MP (MIC) SK Devamany, prefer to sensationalise.

“Issues are simply created, and this spinning culture should be checked. It’s happening so much that the House Speaker has to interfere too many times.”

“You get people who are simply interrupting, don’t follow the Standing Orders or the debate topics set aside for the rakyat,” he told FMT.

Devamany said that while the Dewan Rakyat allowed for both humourous and serious moments, a number of MPs preferred to target their political rivals with “cheap shots”.

“These are things that will give a wrong image of the Dewan to the masses,” he lamented.

Agreeing with him was Klang MP (DAP) Charles Santiago who said that important policies were often ignored because of political bickering.

“It is a failure, because you (as an MP) are elected with a mandate to discuss and evaluate policies that are good for the rakyat.”

“(Because) a lot of people debate on rhetoric and political agenda, policy issues are thrown under the carpet…Compared to other parts of the world, we have a very long way to go,” he said.

Heated arguments, complete with name-calling and all types of slurs are a common sight in the Dewan Rakyat, with MPs regularly tossing jabs at each other.

Some appear to do it out of fun, while others have been known to take it too far.

Lack of time cited

Malaysia’s obsession with sensation, one MP supposed, may have been the reason why Parliamentarians preferred to duke it out in the Dewan Rakyat.