Role of the Opposition - Is the Malaysian Opposition doing the right thing?

The Opposition in Parliament The Opposition is the largest non-government party or coalition of parties in the Legislative Assembly. 

The opposition is sometimes called the ‘alternative government’ and has a range of responsibilities in the Parliament, including closely examining the work of the government.

The Role of the Opposition 

The Opposition’s main role is to question the government of the day and hold them accountable. Opportunities for scrutinising the policies and administration of the Government are provided in Question Time, the Addressin-Reply debate, Budget debates, debates on legislation, notices of motion and No Confidence Motions. Members of the Opposition who are members of parliamentary committees have a further opportunity to scrutinise new legislation as part of the committee process. 

The Opposition also utilises the media to reach the electorate with its views and to establish an identity as an alternative government. 

The Leader of the Opposition

 In the Parliament, official recognition  given to the position of Leader of the Opposition.

 The Leader of the Opposition is elected by opposition Members of Parliament as their leader and spokesperson. Although not constitutionally recognised, the Leader of the Opposition is provided with a special salary, entitlements and facilities. 

Traditional Role of the Leader of the Opposition 

The duties of the Leader of the Opposition include: 

• leading the Opposition in parliamentary and policy debate; 

• holding the Government accountable and presenting the views of an alternative government;

 • chairing the meetings of Shadow Cabinet; 

• leading and publicizing the development of party policy;

• identifying as an alternative Premier;

• leading the party in an election; and

• representing their electorate. 

  • providing alternatives to government policies.

Shadow Cabinet 

The Opposition appoints Shadow Ministers who, with the Leader of the Opposition, collectively form a Shadow Cabinet. The role of a Shadow Minister is to follow closely the areas and responsibilities and activities of Government Ministers.

It is also the duty of the Shadow Cabinet to respond to Government policy initiatives and offer alternative policies to the electorate. 

The Leader of the Opposition and top-level shadow ministers make up the Shadow Cabinet. The Shadow Cabinet is the leading decision-making group in the opposition, meeting regularly to develop opposition policies.

Democracy at Work 

The role of an Opposition is a most important role and the effectiveness of Parliament largely depends on the strength of the Opposition. 

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