Report: Johari mulls docking allowance of MPs who skip Parliament sessions

DEWAN Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Johari Abdul is mulling the idea of docking MPs’ allowance if they are absent when Parliament is in session to deter absenteeism among the lawmakers.

(Focus Malaysia) – In an exclusive interview with The Star, Johari said there have been calls to have the Parliament Standing Orders amended to pave the way for this.

“If you don’t come for X hours a day, you don’t get an allowance for that day. I think that is a good idea. They must spend certain amount of time in the House before they are entitled to the daily allowances they are paid,” Johari told the English daily.

The daily allowance is about RM500 a day and, according to Johari, “Sometimes they come for five minutes and they go out and never come back.”

Johari went on to lament how sometimes MPs are absent for days but he has no authority to penalise them, adding that it is unfair as lawmakers are supposed to attend proceedings to discuss issues pertaining to their constituency and their constituents.

“If they are absent for certain days continuously with no logical reason, I think the Speaker should (be able to) take action and punish them by not paying them their allowances,” he opined, saying that the idea will be brought before the House Committee which he chairs.

The committee consists of members from various political parties.

“Let me talk to them about whether that is possible or not,” he said, adding that he will bring this matter to the committee seeing how there is a call to do so now.

According to Johari, he has also been reading the comments left by netizens on social media, where they had raised the issue of absenteeism among the people’s representatives.

“They have been saying how come our MPs are absent for no reason, especially during Prime Minister’s Question Time on Tuesdays. That is when I think Parliament should have a full house because the Prime Minister is there,” he stressed.

The Prime Minister’s Question Time, which is held on Tuesdays, was introduced by the current administration when the 15th Parliament convened its first meeting in February.

“The PM is willing to answer. MPs should take advantage. And on Thursdays, you have Minister’s Question Time. This is when MPs should take advantage by coming,” Johari pointed out.

“It is embarrassing to raise this issue because I think they are mature enough to know their responsibilities.”

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