Pakatan states ‘have failed in legislative reform’

Lee Leong Hui, Malaysiakini

Almost five years after forming the state government in four states, Pakatan Rakyat has failed to reform the institution of the legislature, according to Selangor speaker Teng Chang Khim.

Teng attributed this to the refusal of politicians, who exert control over the Executive, to give up their powers.

NONEHe also said there was lack of political will for reform to make the legislative assemblies independent of state governments.

“If I were to set up a KPI (key performance index), it would show that Pakatan has failed in this respect,” Teng (left) told a forum on parliamentary reform at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall last night.

Teng, who is Sungai Pinang assemblyperson, noted that only the Selangor state assembly has been pro-active.

It has formed three select committees, as well as the Special Select Committee on Competency, Accountability and Transparency, to scrutinise the state government’s performance. It has also set up ‘live’ online streaming of sittings.

“We have been talking about this (select committees) for many years, but when we became the government, how many states have implemented this? Only Selangor has done so,” he said.

Teng pointed out that society, too, lacked understanding of the doctrine of separation of powers and failed to pressure politicians holding executive posts to reform the legislature.

“What is the speaker? Nobody pays attention to the speaker, no matter how great he or she is,” he said cynically.

Selangor gov’t found wanting

Teng also said the Selangor government had yet to agree to table the Assembly Service Commission Enactment Bill 2009 – which he had drafted – for passage through the state assembly.

The enactment would have made the state assembly fully independent of the Executive in terms of resources and funds, as is the practice in other Commonwealth countries that have a “remarkable” legislature.

“The separation of powers is about sharing of power, but it is not happening here. Before we came into power, we had said it loud and clear that we would do so,” he added.

“But afterwards, we are not willing to let go of power… When you change your position, you change your mindset as well.”