Kuala Lumpur, 26 February 2021 – The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) welcomes a statement released on 24 February 2021 in which the DYMM YDPA Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al-Musta’in Billah advised that Parliamentary sitting can convene during the Emergency order.
A state of Emergency was declared on 12 January 2021 with the supposed objective of curbing the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the declaration, Parliament and all state legislative assemblies were and continue to be suspended.
IDEAS Chief Executive Officer, Tricia Yeoh says, “The advice from the Agong is timely. He has clearly stated that he had agreed to the Emergency in January solely as a proactive move to curb the pandemic, and that in fact a Parliamentary sitting can be called for during an Emergency.”
Istana Negara in a statement on Wednesday issued by the Comptroller of the Royal Household, Dato’ Indera Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin said that the Agong stated his view that Parliament can resume on a date deemed suitable by His Majesty upon the advice of the Prime Minister when he granted an audience to Speakers of Dewan Negara and Dewan Rakyat.
“Further, the fact that the government has not implemented anything new under the Emergency in combatting the pandemic that it could not do under the MCO again begs the question of why the Emergency was called”, Yeoh further comments.
“Parliament – as well as all Parliamentary Select Committees – needs to reconvene as soon as possible to ensure elected representatives resume their paid duties. If schools and conferences can begin actively functioning very soon, there is no reason as to why Parliament cannot reconvene. Safe procedures can be put into place to avoid any spread of the virus. In addition, with the vaccination rollout having begun and Members of Parliament being prioritized as part of Phase 1, there is even less reason to fear infection,” Yeoh concluded.
IDEAS calls for the Prime Minister to immediately call for the convening of the Parliament sitting in the earliest chance possible as it is an essential element of our parliamentary democracy, providing legislative oversight and governance at a crucial time in which our national economic stimulus packages and the National Immunisation Plan are being implemented across the country.
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