Updated: Parliament News In Brief: March 7

SUHAKAM (Human Rights Commission of Malaysia)’ s findings must be allowed to be debated and made an annual affair, said Member of Parliament for Pengerang (BN), Azalina Othman Said.

Azalina said it may not mean much for Malaysia to be in the United Nations Human Rights Council if the country is not able to debate the findings of Malaysia’s human right commission on issues related to the fundamental rights of the Malaysian people.

She also urged for a smoother route for public officials called in by the Parliament Select Committees to answer questions at PSC meetings and to also attend these meetings when called in. Many do not turn up for these meetings, face limits when answering the questions posed towards them when ascertaining an issue.

The PSCs must be further empowered so they are able to carry out their duties, she said when debating the royal address of the ongoing Parliament session.

MITRA (Malaysian Indian Transformation Unit), review of the minimum salary, non-implementation of recommendations related to foreign workers including forced labour in the country, unemployment among youth as well as unilateral conversions allowed in some states going against the national policy, were among some of the issues raised by Member of Parliament for Ipoh Barat M. Kulasegaran.

Kulasegaran said the National Salary Consultative Council had made several recommendations towards the salary review but this has not been brought to the cabinet for approval. He said many of those getting minimum pay were in the B40 group and this matter must be given priority. He also said practical training should be given priority under plans by the government to raise employability among school leavers.

On the unilateral conversion cases in the country, he asked if the government planned on following the ruling made in the case of Indira Gandhi in 2018 where the court decided that children cannot have their religion converted without the consent of both parents.

On MITRA, he asked what has happened to the transformation plan meant for the Indian community. He said the Minister had said last year that there will be a meeting among the members of parliament on the matter. There has not been any meeting on this.

Kulasegaran also raised the issue of the post of Attorney General still being vacant. He said as the post was very important and the fact that the post has not been filled up has raised many questions.

THE RULES OF LAWS in the country must be followed, said former Prime Minister and Member of Parliament for Langkawi Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. He said several agencies had been created by the government bypassing the Parliament. This is against the existing laws in the country, he said.

The executives appointed in the government agencies are paid sky-high salaries, he said.

He also said some of the agencies were redundant and their functions can be carried out by existing agencies.