By Lim Kit Siang
In 2004, I had made 12 proposals for parliamentary reform and modernization for Malaysia to have a "First World Parliament" not only in infrastructure, but mindset, culture, practices and performance.
These 12 proposals for First-World Parliament should be adopted as the parliamentary agenda of both the Barisan Nasional and the Opposition in the 12th Parliament when it convenes for its first meeting in May, viz:
1. live telecast of parliamentary proceedings;
2. daily two-hour question time;
3. Prime Minister's Question Time twice a week;
4. Opposition MP heading the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
5. some 30 specialist Parliamentary Select Committees with a Select Committee for every Ministry;
6. about ten general Parliamentary Select Committees to produce annual reports on progress, trends and recommendations on national integrity, IT, women's agenda, environment, mass media, corruption, etc;
7. allocation of certain days a week specifically to deal with Opposition business;
8. research and constituency staffing for MPs.
9. an Opposition Deputy Speaker
10. modernization and democratization of Standing Orders
11. code of ethics for all MPs.
12. Ministers' Parliamentary code of conduct
The political tsunami of March 8, 2008 general election is an unmistakable mandate and demand for far-reaching changes in Malaysia after 50 years of nation-building, including the creation of a vibrant, vigorous and truly representative First-World Parliament.
At the meeting of PKR, PAS and DAP leaders in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday night, I had proposed that PKR President Datin Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail be the Parliamentary Opposition Leader of the new Parliament until Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim regains his full civil liberties and is re-elected to Parliament, and the proposal was agreed by the leaders of the three parties.
DAP MPs and I will give full support to Azizah and the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz who is now fully responsible for parliamentary affairs, to turn the Malaysian Parliament into a First-World Parliament ¡V as it is better to be late than never.