Appointment Of 90 Member PSSC’s Positive Move Leading To Better Transparency

The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs has welcomed the announcement of 90 members of the 10 Parliamentary Special Select Committees (PSSCs) as a positive move towards advancing parliamentary reforms in the country.

According to the TOR released on 21 March 2023, all PSSCs are tasked to examine bills including private members’ bills, proposals and documents related to their portfolios, as well as investigate any matters related to their portfolios and report them. The PSSCs are also given the power to call experts or witnesses and request any documents that would enable them to carry out their functions.

“We congratulate all Members of Parliament who are appointed as members of the PSSCs. We hope the new and stronger terms of reference would enable them to maximise their role of parliamentary oversight. As the government plans to table new bills that are key to improving good governance, such as bills on Fiscal Responsibility, Government Procurement, and Political Financing, the responsibility given to the PSSCs to examine bills will allow a rigorous review process of the proposed bills. We look forward to seeing the members use this opportunity meaningfully to ensure the proposed pieces of legislation will benefit the country over the long term”, Dr Tricia Yeoh, CEO of IDEAS, commented.  

“We also encourage the PSSC members to use their powers to call for experts and witnesses from various sectors including those from civil society organisations (CSOs), academics and industry experts in their deliberations. Other entities that could be invited to the PSSCs’ deliberation are the All-Party Parliamentary Groups, which are also parliamentary entities that are established to facilitate discussion between Parliamentarians and members of civil society on various matters. In the previous parliamentary session, there were several APPGs including on Political Financing, of which IDEAS was Secretariat. The involvement of experts and witnesses would improve transparency and encourage public participation in parliamentary processes,” she added.

“However, we also encourage Parliament to improve transparency in the PSSCs by announcing meeting dates and agendas, convening public hearings, publishing meeting hansards, as well as issuing summaries of PSSC findings. These measures were not practised in the PSSCs of previous Parliaments and should be initiated by the current government. Additionally, we hope that the PSSCs are given sufficient funding, resources and capacity to facilitate their research activities and investigations,” Dr Yeoh concluded.

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