MPs hit out at parliamentary sitting without debates

PETALING JAYA, July 7 (Sin Chew Daily) — Members of parliament (MPs) on both sides of the political divide hit out at the five-day special sitting of Dewan Rakyat scheduled to be held end of this month.

The MPs are requesting to extend the parliamentary sitting, allowing them to raise issues, debate and vote in order to present the people's issues in parliament.

Umno secretary-general cum Pontian MP Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan is unhappy with the special sitting.

He asked whether the special sitting was only meant for the government to present a briefing instead of debate.

Ahmad Maslan said the parliament sitting should be 20 days instead of five days, as MPs have many issues to debate such as preventive measures of COVID-19 and the 12th Malaysian Plan.

He said all the MPs and some of the staff in parliament had been vaccinated, adding that a physical sitting should be held for both Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara.

In his tweet, Ahmad Maslan said the five-day special sitting was not only meant to table the Emergency Ordinance but to debate it as well.

He also uploaded a decree by the King on June 16 that parliament should be reconvened for MPs to debate on Emergency Ordinance and the National Recovery Plan.

Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, who leads the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda), agreed with Ahmad Maslan. 

Forwarding Ahmad's tweet, Syed Saddiq said he wanted to raise issues concerning the people, including double standards in standard operating procedures, university tuition fees, loan moratorium, cash distribution to people and others.

Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin tweeted that MPs are worried that the parliament sitting would end up being a briefing session with no debates and questions.

"Don't let parliament democracy die in ICU, please!"

Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government was cheating by convening the special sitting of Dewan Rakyat for five days only.

There was no indication that it would allow MPs to debate during the sitting. 

Anwar said in a virtual event that the reconvening of parliament is to ensure that the government is operating in a correct manner without abuse of power, whereby MPs on both sides of the divide are playing their checks and balances role.

Anwar also reminded Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin not to make use of Dewan Rakyat Speaker to achieve his personal agenda.

Anwar said the Opposition would be checking whether the government abuses its power and issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the rakyat.

Anwar, who is also Parti Keadilan Rakyat president, said the PN-led government should not ignore parliamentary democracy.

He said the parliament is a platform for elected representatives to air the people's views and evaluate the government's eligibility.

Parliament sittings have been suspended since the first quarter of the year, following the invocation of the Emergency Ordinance.

The king first declared a state of emergency on Jan 12 to curb the spread of COVID-19. The emergency was scheduled to last until Aug 1 or earlier depending on the state of coronavirus infections.

Federal parliamentary sessions and state legislative assemblies have not sat since the Emergency ordinance was declared.

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