Upgrade, don’t relocate Parliament, says DAP MP
Bukit Bendera MP Liew Chin Tong called on the Cabinet to scrap the RM800 million plan to build a new Parliament House in Putrajaya and instead reconsider upgrading existing facilities in the current parliament building.
The Public Works Department had proposed last year to upgrade the existing facilities, but the suggestion was shelved in the 2010 Budget, Liew claimed.
The DAP strategist pointed out that it would be cheaper to build additional buildings around the current site in Jalan Parlimen to fulfil the need for extra space rather than move the entire facility.
Liew also rapped the Najib administration for not putting the plan before Dewan Rakyat’s House Committee first as it is responsible for managing the building’s facilities.
“The Cabinet should not usurp the role of the House Committee,” slammed the 33-year-old.
“It is sad that Parliament cannot even decide for itself where it is located and how its affairs should be conducted,” he added.
Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, who is in charge of Parliamentary Affairs, had written a reply earlier today to Liew’s colleague, Kota Melaka MP Sim Tong Him, saying Cabinet had already decided to move the federal lawmaking body to the national administrative capital, and leave the current building as a heritage site.
Nazri was later reported to have made a U-turn on the statement and claimed Cabinet had yet to make any decision on Parliament’s future.
The current Parliament House comprises two parts, a three-storey main building and a 17-storey tower.
The main building hosts the Dewan Rakyat and the Dewan Negara while ministers’ offices are located in the tower.
The country’s first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman suggested the construction of Parliament House in December 1959.
Construction began in September 1962 and the opening of the RM18 million Parliament building was officiated by Tuanku Syed Putra ibni Almarhum Syed Hassan Jamalullail, the third Yang di-Pertuan Agong, on November 21, 1963.
A statue of Tunku Abdul Rahman was erected near the parliament square. No other Malaysian prime minister has been honoured with a statue since due to a rising Islamic consciousness due to the prohibition on graven images.