The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH) welcomes the formation of the 10 Parliamentary Special Select Committees (PSSC) that were approved in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday. Each PSSC will comprise 9 Members of Parliament (MPs) including the Chairman. The 10 PSSCs are:
- Finance and Economy
- Domestic Trade, Entrepreneurship, Cost of living and Agriculture;
- Infrastructure, Transport and Communications,
- Nation Building, Ethnicity, Education and Human Resources Development
- Women, Family and Community Development
- Environment, Science and Plantations
- International Relations and International Trade
- Human Rights, Elections, and Institutional Reform
BERSIH welcomes the formation of the PSSC on Human Rights, Elections and Institutional Reform. Although we previously called for the establishment of a separate PSC on Elections and Multi-Party Democracy, the formation of this PSSC is still a positive outcome.
However, BERSIH is of the view that the formation of the 10 PSSCs, each comprising 9 members, is insufficient to involve all government backbenchers and opposition MPs. If the Parliament wants to maintain this, as many as 67 MPs will not be in any committee, thus undermining their role as national policymakers at the PSSC and PAC level (excluding the other 4 PSCs that look after the internal affairs of the Dewan Rakyat). If these 10 PSSCs are to be maintained, it would be better to increase the composition of each committee to a maximum of 16 MPs. Alternatively, Parliament can establish more PSSCs by breaking some up to reduce the ministries to be monitored by each PSSC and create more focused PSSCs.
BERSIH hopes that Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim can provide an explanation as to why only 10 PSSCs were established and why the compositions were not maximized to enable all private members of parliament to be involved in at least one PSSC. BERSIH also hopes that the Chairpersons and committee members can be announced soon and we suggest as far as possible that Opposition MPs be appointed as the Chairpersons. The composition of the PSSC also needs to be balanced and reflect the composition of members of parliament in the Dewan Rakyat.
BERSIH Steering Committee