LETTER | Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin cannot get a better opportunity than this when DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang and other opposition leaders have promised there will not be any call for a vote of confidence if Parliament is convened soon.
There are numerous issues that can be discussed and debated in Parliament ranging from the imposition of movement control orders (MCOs), the vaccination programme, economic stimulus packages, foreign investment, and others.
The King is also hard-pressed by various political leaders to reconvene Parliament and he has thus far taken a balanced stand feeling that the present government's activities should not be interrupted and he was also much concerned about the prospect of a no-confidence motion unseating the government and causing instability in the midst of this unparalleled pandemic.
He could view this stand by Lim positively and urge the prime minister to agree to reconvene Parliament. One reason for declaring the emergency was to ensure political certainty as, during the preceding days before the emergency, the Perikatan Nasional (PN) federal government was on edge.
There was the threat of no-confidence motions against the government in Parliament which it might not survive, and an unstable government then could not take serious measures to focus on countering the pandemic. Now, this threat is no more and Parliament can be re-convened.
The emergency is scheduled to end in August but it could possibly be extended if the situation warrants it. In this case, the extension of the emergency needs the understanding and cooperation of the opposition, and reconvening Parliament is one diplomatic way to do it.
As the opposition has often said, the country comes first and they can be expected to abide by this principle. The opposition too is no more hell-bent on taking over the government by whatever means possible as was the case previously. The PN government too has also buttressed itself since taking power more than a year ago.
Nowadays opposition members prefer to wait for the 15th general election which gives them a better shot at coming to power. Anyway, there is only a year plus after the emergency ends in August before the government's mandate runs out in May 2023 and it is futile for the opposition to take over the government with so little time remaining.
Furthermore, I don't think the opposition is in a rush or hurry to take over the reins of government noting the ups and downs of the pandemic and the socio-economic problems faced by the nation.
A general election cannot be called when the Covid 19 pandemic is raging and which shows no sign of being eliminated in the near future, and neither the government nor the opposition can take chances as a resurgence may occur when our guard is let down and SOPs are relaxed. This has happened here and in many other countries as one wave of infection leads to another deadlier one.
The best option for both the government and opposition is for Parliament to be reconvened where a host of issues can be discussed and debated as there are a lot of experienced MPs and political leaders who have administrative experience and who can aid the government in adopting better ways to overcome this crisis.
Many members of the opposition have ministerial experience, even though a short one, in managing various ministries. And there are also leaders like Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Lim, Anwar Ibrahim, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, and Najib Abdul Razak who can offer advice during this crucial time.
Reconvening Parliament will also allow Muhyiddin to mend fences with his Umno supporters who have been critical of his Bersatu party. He could use the chance to strengthen PN and BN in anticipation of a general election when the time comes.
The opposition too can explore various options to solidify their pact. Reconvening Parliament will also enable the prime minister and his cabinet to share the presently heavy burden with the opposition in Parliament. Instead of just critical comments, it will be better to have good suggestions and inputs that can help the country during these perilous times.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.