KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 (Bernama) -- The Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives) is seriously considering developing the idea of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) to foster greater engagement between civil societies and Parliament.
Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof noted that the House Committee had decided and agreed in principle to establish APPGs in Malaysia.
"When all procedural formalities are finalised, the first Malaysian APPG will be the one on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)," he said in his keynote address when opening the 2019 National Forum on Sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and SDG here today.
As an informal mechanism, he said, the scope of work of APPGs would not be confined to formalities and that it could be as wide as the boundaries of society.
Rising above political divide and putting the people first, Mohamad Ariff said APPGs could, among others, shape the agenda by providing information and advocacy; act as a watchdog for specific issues; advocate on the legislative implications of law or policy; and ensure legislation was enforced.
He said that guidelines on the formation of APPGs were already drawn up, such as membership will be open to all Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara members; external organisations like the Malaysian Civil Society Organisations (CSO)-SDG Alliance will be admitted as partners; each group will have a minimum of five members of parliament from cross-party; and each APPG will be expected to hold a minimum of two formal meetings per year.
Mohamad Ariff said institutionalising APPGs was a start to a stronger Parliament.
"The partnerships with CSOs will lead to clearer actions and recommendations on policies and laws to enable Parliament to play a key role in putting in place the legislative framework reflective of putting the people's needs first," he said.
Once the APPGs are formally established in the Malaysian Parliament, it would also mark another step in the fulfillment of the Pakatan Harapan manifesto promise No. 16 which seeks, among others, to encourage greater collaboration and engagement between civil societies and Parliament.
The forum is jointly organised by the Kingsley Strategic Institute and the Parliament of Malaysia, in association with the Malaysian CSO-SDG Alliance and the United Nations Malaysia.