COMMENT | Where can Malaysians voice out their concerns if they have any when it comes to the government? In normal days, there is Parliament where the people’s representatives, the elected MPs, would debate and bring forth the voice of their constituents. The press is also there to voice out for the people and yes, there will be those who voice their grouses online.
What I have mentioned above are all valid and legit ways for the people of a country to voice their concerns to their government. But what happens when these avenues are taken away from the people? What happens when Parliament stops sessions, the press isn't allowed to report everything, or social media is policed?
MPs have been frustrated and have been calling for Parliament to be convened. In fact, Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker Azalina Othman Said recently made a call for Parliament to continue because by suspending it, it erodes democracy. She says that many issues need to be debated and that Malaysians are already sacrificing so many liberties because of Covid-19.
Azalina even made a few suggestions, such as forming an interim emergency government with representation from all parties, online or virtual sessions, and even vaccinating everyone in Parliament. She stated 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”.
Opposition MPs have resorted to making public statements in order for their issues to be heard. But, because it isn’t officially in Parliament, nothing much can actually come out of it since there is no legit avenue for the issues to be addressed. This can be frustrating, not just for the MPs, but especially so for the people who are supposed to be represented by the MPs.