Tan Sri Johari Abdul says that he is seriously considering making the MPs’ attendance records public on the Parliament website.
The Dewan Rakyat Speaker said the suggestion was brought up by his predecessor Tan Sri Azhar Azizan Harun, but he would still need to look at all the legal aspects as well as the Parliamentary Standing Orders before he could make any changes.
He added that there were even views to show the full hourly attendance of MPs.
“But of course, I have to look at the legal issues, whether it is possible or not, but if you ask me personally, yes it should be, but again I have to look into the mechanism or the law as well as the Standing Orders,” he said at the Concorde Club meeting today (Oct 6).
The Concorde Club is an informal gathering of a group of editors and senior journalists who gather with politicians and key policymakers.
Also present was newly-appointed Bernama chairman and Star Media Group advisor Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai.
Previous guests included Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Raza as well as ministers Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan and Anthony Loke.
Johari said it was only fair for the public to know if their elected representatives had attended parliament or not.
“In order to be kind to the public, a certain hours or cap (is needed) when you come into Parliament, basically you need to work, you know, then only you get paid,” he added.
“I think it is quite fair because at the moment we do not have that system.
“So, it’s free and easy, you can come in and clock-in in the morning, then you go for coffee and come back in the Dewan, fight a bit and then go out or simply go home,” added the Speaker.
Johari had told The Star in August that he was mulling to cut MPs’ allowances if they failed to turn up in Parliament. The measure is being considered as a way to deter absenteeism among the MPs.
“I’m seriously looking at it, in fact those who are continuously absent for six months, then you will lose your position.
“But probably we can come up with a more stringent mechanism, that if you don’t come for a certain period of time, then probably I have to suspend your allowance, or something along those lines,” he reiterated.
“Some critics have, of course, said that we are not ‘school students’ and that shouldn’t be the way.
“My response is that you appealed to the people for votes so that you can be elected and you have a moral responsibility to attend Parliament,” he added.