|National Assembly Standing Committee members will discuss several key issues, including preparations for the 10th National Assembly (NA) plenary session, which is scheduled to take place from October 20 to November 25 and review the ninth plenary session, from preparation to outcomes. — VNA/VNS Photo Nhan Sang
HA NOI (VNS) — Overwork, poorly conceived legislation and indifferent quality of debates as well as Q&A sessions with senior Government officials were candidly discussed by the National Assembly Standing Committee yesterday.
The committee expressed concern about the huge workload planned for the 10th National Assembly (NA) plenary session, which is scheduled to take place from October 20 to November 25.
The National Assembly convenes twice a year – a summer session and a winter session. The summer session ended in late June.
A report read by the head of the NA Office said that the upcoming plenary session was set to ratify 16 bills and a Resolution, and provide comments and recommendations on 10 other bills.
Many of the bills are of major significance, such as the one dealing with elections and another that deals with the organisation of the National Assembly itself.
Other far-reaching issues that will come up for discussion at the winter session of the parliament include the Press Law, access to information, the establishment of associations and societies, and religious beliefs.
Highlighting another group of bills that are very important, NA Chairman Nguyen Sinh Hung urged that revisions to the Civil Code, Criminal Code, Civil Procedures Code, Criminal Procedures Code, Law on Detention and Law on Investigative Agencies should be carefully prepared before they are tabled.
The schedule for tabling these bills also needs to be considered carefully during the Standing Committee meetings that will be held before the NA's winter session, he said.
"It is the quality of the laws passing through the NA that matters. If any of those bills are not ready to be tabled in the next session, we can hold them back. If we insist on bringing them up for discussion, the deputies will be overwhelmed and cannot work wisely," Hung said.
"At the last session, I felt embarrassed when a number of deputies challenged the wording or logic of the bills brought up for discussion. That is not their job, that is ours."
Ninth session review
The NA Standing Committee yesterday extensively reviewed the ninth plenary session, from preparation to outcomes.
Nguyen Kim Khoa, chairman of the NA Security and Defence Committee complained about delayed feedback as well as the absence of feedback from deputies after they were given draft laws to study, ahead of discussions at the plenary session.
Addressing the question and answer sessions involving ministers, Chairperson of the NA Social Affairs Committee, Truong Thi Mai, said these remained lacklustre because those who asked the questions did not directly debate with those answering them. They mostly read out prepared questions, she said.
But NA Office Chairman Nguyen Hanh Phuc and NA Legal Affairs Committee Chairman Phan Trung Ly said both direct debates and reading of prepared questions were okay, because it depended on the knowledge and ability of the person asking the question.
"Sometimes, pre-prepared questions are more profound, informative and better-structured because the person asking them has had time to prepare and make references," Ly said.
He said the questioning of Cabinet members must be part of every plenary session.
Chairman Hung said the question and answer sessions in the next plenary session should not adopt the same format as in previous ones, where each minister took his turn to answer the questions.
Hung said members of the audience had to come up with a new way to avoid this problem at a question and answer session. He suggested that the questions should follow up those that had already been asked at previous sessions and ferret out what had been done to resolve those issues. He cited as examples the issues relating to the safety of reservoirs, water security and planting of forests.
One Standing Committee member suggested that three or four ministers take the stage at the same time and co-ordinate with each other in answering questions.
5-year tenure lessons
The Standing Committee also discussed a preliminary plan for reviewing the NA's five-year (2011 – 2015) tenure as well as preparations for elections to the next legislature in 2016, which coincides with the 70th anniversary of the NA's establishment (1946 – 2016).
The committee agreed to set up a board to review the five-year tenure.
Chairman Hung said particular attention should be paid to lessons that have to be drawn from the tenure.
The chairman said the NA agencies should identify what has been achieved during the five-year tenure and its impact on the country's socio-economic development. They should also point out targets that were set at the beginning of the tenure, but not met, including the quality of laws, percentage of full-time deputies versus part-time ones and the ratio of women in the parliament.
He stressed that the review reports should also contain measures to overcome identified deficiencies.
Yesterday afternoon, the Standing Committee heard Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuracy (prosecuting agency) read out their applications to set up their branches in newly established towns and cities. — VNS