Former Parliament Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof had described the parliament proceedings over the years as a “pasar malam” as the culture had become toxic.
Speaking at a forum for his new book “Parliament, Unexpected” on Thursday (19 May), he said that it was difficult for him to implement internal reforms.
“To me, the biggest problem (when it comes to reforms) is the Parliament culture. I tried to change bits of it, but didn’t fully succeed, because of the toxic nature of the proceedings.”
“It’s not to say (the culture) was never present. It was during the initial phases. In the very early days of Parliament, MPs had behaved well, despite all the debates.”
“But it later evolved into something akin to a pasar malam (night market),” he was quoted as saying by The Vibes.
Ariff said that he had attempted to ease the toxicity during this two-year tenure as the speaker by forming the parliamentary special select committees (PSSCs).
He said that even this took some persuasion for the Pakatan Harapan (PH) cabinet to come on board with his idea.
“I tried to make sure the politicians understand the need to have a strong committee system. After two years, I have set up 10 PSSCs.”
“But after the Sheraton Move, Perikatan Nasional came in and reversed everything we have worked for. We will have to start again from scratch.” he said.
Nonetheless, he believes that many more reforms could have been implemented had it not been for the change of government.
Following the fall of the Pakatan Harapan government, Ariff was replaced by Tan Sri Azhar Azizan Harun as the speaker.
Do you agree with Ariff’s remarks that the parliament is like a “pasar malam“? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!