by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 11th June, 1993:
Dewan Negara should be abolish or it should be replaced by an elective chamber as its present composition is a waste of public funds and a burden on taxpayers’ money
Dewan Negara should be abolish or it should be replaced by an elective chamber as its present composition is a waste of public funds and a burden on taxpayers’ money.
Yesterday alone, Dewan Negara passed seven bills, namely Evidence (Amendment) Bill, the Anti-Dumping Duties Bill, the Administration of Islamic Law (Federal Territories) Bill, the Care Centers Bill, the Fisheries (Amendment) Bill, the Penang Port Commission (Amendment) Bill and the Standards and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia (Incorporation) (Amendment) Bill.
One of the seven bills, the Evidence Amendment Bill, was passed without debate while there was perfunctory debate by one senator in four other bills.
It must be a parliamentary record for the Dewan Negara that it could pass even bills in one day, from 3.30 p.m. to 6.40 p.m.
It is clear that the Dewan Negara has difficulty in finding Senators to speak on Bills, while in the Dewan Rakyat, in the overwhelming majority of the Bills presented to the House, DAP MPs who had prepared to speak on the various Bills had no chance to speak.
The Dewan Negara has failed to live up to the expectations of the founding fathers of the Merdeka Malaysian Constitution, for instead of being filled with distinguished Malaysians who have excelled themselves in different professions and walks of life, and could contribute to the legislative and deliberative process, it has become a political garbage chamber of the Barisan Nasional component parties, whether UMNO, MCA, Gerakan or MIC, to nominate those who could not enter Parliament by the front door in general elections.
Dewan Negara has also become the chamber for Barisan Nasional Ministers to appear to speak and answer questions to hide the fact that they dare not appear in the Dewan Rakyat to answer question and reply to speeches, and Datuk S. Samy Vellu is a good case in point.
The Merdeka Constitution envisaged that the Senate would become an elective chamber, where Senators are appointed by direct elections. If the Barisan Nasional Government is not prepared to allow elections for the people to appoint Senators, then it should consider the radical step of abolishing the Senate altogether!