Malaysiakini
OPINIONS

MP SPEAKS | Reconvene Parliament - where there's a will, there's a way

Azalina Othman Said

Published
Modified 27 May 2021, 4:34 am

MP SPEAKS | I write this out of utter frustration at the lack of response from my distinguished colleagues in the government. My questions to the attorney-general on the emasculation of Parliament and law minister have been left unanswered.

It would seem that the suspension of Parliament has not only crippled democracy, but it has also crippled the capacity of government officials of basic courtesy to respond to valid concerns raised by MPs beyond the walls of Dewan Rakyat.

At the expense of sounding like a broken record, I see no other way for Malaysia to move forward in this state of emergency but for the Parliament to reconvene. Since the government is fond of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the citizens, allow me to humbly put forward my suggested SOPs for Parliament. Hopefully, fellow parliamentarians will agree and support the following recommendations:

To minimise Covid-19 risks: Ensure that all parliamentary staffers are vaccinated including all MPs and senators. I was informed that as of now, Parliament staffers are not considered as frontliners. I don’t agree with this. As guardians of both Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara which uphold democracy, they are frontliners in my opinion.

To minimise unwarranted “drama” in Parliament: Promulgate an ordinance for Parliament to reconvene without motions of confidence to be heard. Until and unless the pandemic is controlled and herd immunity of at least 50 percent is achieved, no general election should be held but instead, an Interim Emergency Government with an emergency cabinet be formed, with representation from all political parties.

To facilitate efficient parliamentary proceedings: Invest in preparing for Virtual Parliament and speech-to-text systems. It’s not costly. Even Zoom provides polling options to facilitate voting processes. And I’d be happy to use the mute function to stop errant parliamentarians who talk too much.

Enforce quorum requirements for in-person parliamentary proceedings. The Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara are large enough to ensure social distancing. Don’t worry about Standing Orders and...

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