Bring Parliament back so that Covid-19 can be solved effectively, coalition urges government

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A general view of the Parliament building in Kuala Lumpur March 19, 2021. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
A general view of the Parliament building in Kuala Lumpur March 19, 2021. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, June 15 — A coalition of NGOs and civil society organisations has called upon the federal government to end the ongoing Emergency and reconvene Parliament.

It said the reimplementation of the movement control order (MCO) at the start of the month has caused anxiety among the public, afflicting Malaysians with numerous difficulties.

“Clearly, the enforcement of the state of Emergency has so far failed to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.

“Without effective checks and balances, the state of Emergency has undermined parliamentary democracy in the country. This has led to arbitrary actions by the executive without the necessary accountability,” said the coalition in a statement.

It added the enforcement of the state of Emergency has not resulted in any positive impact on the Covid-19 health crisis management, but instead Malaysia is not only experiencing a health crisis, but also economic and social crises.

“Malaysians continue to be burdened without adequate protection. The wellbeing of the family institution is threatened, leading to a variety of psychological and social problems.

“The education of our children has been affected, especially for households that do not have Internet access or appropriate devices. Covid-19 vaccination rates are still a long way from reaching the herd immunity that would permit the economic, social and educational sectors to reopen,” the coalition said.

It argued that reopening Parliament would be the soundest method for dealing with these problems, as different approaches and initiatives are required and that Parliament is the best avenue to resolve the escalating crisis.

The coalition listed four recommendations which can be implemented as part of the steps towards addressing the issues.

“Firstly, a parliamentary session shall be convened as soon as possible so that the members of Parliament can effectively play the role of checks and balances. Secondly, the Emergency should not be extended beyond August 1 of this year.

“Thirdly, all MPs across the political divide must put aside political differences and work together to address the Covid-19 health crisis, revive the economy as well as resolve the social crisis plaguing the country,” it said.

The coalition stressed for all parties, particularly the government, to be magnanimous and inclusive by involving all MPs in an effort to address the crises.

“NGOs, civil society organisations, as well as professionals, technocrats and experts should be actively involved in addressing the Covid-19 health crisis and other associated crises. These groups should be assigned appropriate roles to jointly contribute towards the recovery of the nation,” it said.

The statement was endorsed by 41 organisations and bodies, including Pertubuhan Ikram Malaysia, All Women’s Action Society, Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, Malaysia Indian Women Entrepreneurs and Professional, Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia and G25 Malaysia.


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