Dewan Negara president advocates for empowered Senate, commits to erasing ‘rubber stamp’ image

Dewan Negara Speaker Datuk Mutang Tagal. Photo credit: Parlimen Malaysia/Facebook

By DayakDaily Team

KUCHING, March 17: Dewan Negara president Datuk Mutang Tagal has reaffirmed his commitment to cleaning up the Dewan Negara’s image, which has been portrayed as a ‘pak turut’ or ‘rubber stamp’ that approves all Bills.

According to a TVS news report, Mutang, who has held the position since Feb 19, optimistically dismissed the perception and described it as negative and false.


The former Bukit Mas Member of Parliament (MP) hopes to use his position as Speaker of the Dewan Negara to improve the quality of debates for all senators.

“Many people think that the Dewan Negara is the ‘rubber stamp’ of the government. Actually, in any parliamentary democracy, the division of power is between the executive, legislative, and judicial; we have separate powers.

“We want the freedom of the three bodies to be achieved. Besides, I want senators to be more active in the debate and it is possible that after this we will learn from other Dewan Negara about the best practices that can be practised for the good of the country,” he was quoted as saying in the news report.

Mutang made the remarks to TVS after visiting the newsroom of the Sarawak government-owned television station here yesterday (March 16).

Meanwhile, Mutang hoped that all Sarawak senators will demonstrate commitment and high-quality debate throughout the Dewan Negara session.

“I hope they will discuss good things, not only for Sarawak, but for the country as well.

“They should take advantage of the platform (Dewan Negara) by coming up with thoughtful and good ideas for Sarawak to maintain the harmony that Malaysia has enjoyed all this time,” he said.

For the record, the Dewan Negara is one of the houses in Parliament that reviews and approves bills introduced by the Dewan Rakyat before submitting them to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for approval.

Mutang also wants parliamentarians to maintain the quality of debates by focusing on the people and the country throughout the Dewan Rakyat session.

He stressed that as Members of Parliament who represent the people, they must maintain a professional demeanour that reflects the country.

Compared to then and now, the former Bukit Mas MP from 1982 to 1990 described the current Dewan Rakyat session as more aggressive.

“At the Dewan Rakyat meeting this time, they (parliamentarians) need to focus on debating a Bill that is good for the people and the country.

“Don’t break the rules of the meeting and don’t ever discredit each other. They should reflect the personality as a Member of Parliament,” he added.

Mutang went on to say that all of the debates and behaviours shown are broadcast live, which may give the general public a negative impression, particularly among young people.

As a result, he hoped parliamentarians would be more mature and serve as role models for the public.

“Every Member of Parliament must keep their emotions under control, avoid provocation, and be professional when asking questions to the minister or discussing the bill.

“They should think about the behaviour and character seen by the community,” he explained.

Mutang was appointed as the 20th speaker of the Dewan Negara on Feb 19 to replace Tun Pehin Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar who resigned and was later appointed as the 8th Sarawak Governor. — DayakDaily