• Free Malaysia Today

Parliament civil servants biased in support for ministers, says PKR MP

By Tsubasa Nair, Free Malaysia Today (7 July 2022) PETALING JAYA: An opposition MP has claims that the current administrative system in Parliament encourages civil servants to be more biased in their support for ministers with the hope of securing favourable positions in other government ministries later. PKR’s Wong Chen explained that previous objections to the implementation of a Parliamentary Services Act (PSA) had come largely from within the civil service. “They like the idea of working in Parliament for a few years, then get promoted to the finance or foreign ministry.

“So, you must have a PSA, otherwise your administration is working against the interests of the public,” he said at the Conference on Necessary Pre-GE15 Reform. Wong, who is Subang MP, also said the PSA should be passed and not be held ransom by the needs of the civil service, as Parliament should have its own officers independent of government. Meanwhile, Umno veteran Shahrir Samad said implementing the PSA was important as it would compel MPs and ministers, who were already well paid, to work harder.

“That’s why MPs have so much time (on their hands) that they can be chairmen of GLCs and so on because they are not working hard enough,” the former Johor Bahru MP said.

Wong agreed that some MPs “were not doing their jobs”, but he also pointed out that while opposition MPs were paid well, “they were not overpaid” as many had to bear their own costs. “When we lost power, in my first term, it was a struggle every month trying to get money and I had to use my own money to pay my officers.

“So, although the salary is RM25,000, you take home about RM5,000.” The PSA was first enacted in 1963, just a few months before the formation of Malaysia. It allowed Parliament to act as a truly independent body, running its own affairs, selecting its staff and controlling its expenditure.

However, it was repealed in 1992 during Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s first stint as prime minister, with parliamentary affairs subsequently being placed directly under the Prime Minister’s Department.