Monday, April 28, 2008

Teng says state assembly should be more than just a rubber stamp - The Star

April 28, 2008

A MORE proactive change is needed to transform the state assembly to a more governance-oriented entity, newly-appointed speaker Teng Chang Khim said.

Speaking at a talk entitled ‘What do the speaker and executive councillors do’ organised by China Press on Thursday night, Teng said the state assembly’s traditional passive role was not in keeping with current times.

Teng: ‘I’m looking forward to seeing a livelier state assembly’.
Change, he said, was crucial to improve the overall delivery system.

“I’m looking forward to seeing a livelier state assembly. It should be more than just a ‘rubber stamp’, as practiced by the previous government.

“Bills and policies are easily passed by the House because the members of the House feel the exco and Mentri Besar are their bosses,” he said, adding that it was a wrong perception of the representatives.

“Who gives them (exco and Mentri Besar) the power? It is the House that gives them the power.

Teng also said the major focus of the legislature was to monitor and ensure the executives perform as anticipated.

“The members of the house have the right to query and seek explanations from the government official if there is any wrong conduct or slowness to act,” he said.

To achieve the purpose effectively, Teng suggested that committees such as the Privileged Committee and Standing Order Committee be set up to supervise the executive roles.

Teng added that he would also suggest to the state government to establish a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to scrutinise auditors reports on government departments.

Another committee, the Select Committee, could also be formed on an ad hoc basis based on specific subjects or bills to enlarge the participation of the people.

Teng also said he was looking into longer debate as well as question-and-answer sessions for the house.

He would also make a proposal to the state government to allow live telecast of the house sitting by the local TV stations.

He said the state would continue with its previous practice of webcasting through the net.

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