Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has repeated his call for Parliament to reconvene as it is now safe enough for sittings to be held.
“It has been 25 days since the Yang di-Pertuan Agong proclaimed that Parliament can have sittings during the emergency.
“But until today, no date has been fixed by the government for elected representatives to return to the Dewan Rakyat,” Zahid said in a Facebook posting today.
Parliament, he said, is part of the check-and-balance system for the government but its function has been suspended with “science and data” as the excuse.
He said Parliament occupies the most important position in democracy as it is the rakyat’s forum through which their representatives can voice their concerns.
It is also the federal legislative body that acts as a check against the government’s policies for the sake of the country as well as to prevent abuse of power or concentration of power, he added.
“Hence, I believe it is now time for democratic practices to be restored using ‘science and data’ as well,” he said.
Firstly, he said, Parliament can safely reconvene virtually, as many other countries have already done due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Secondly, many parliamentarians have already received their Covid-19 vaccination.
Thirdly, many other economic and social activities including schools have been allowed to operate so there is no reason for Parliament to remain closed, he said.
Lastly, Zahid pointed to Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Mohd Rashid Hasnon who posted on Facebook on March 18 about his run around Parliament grounds to launch the “Parliament Virtual Run 2021” event.
“This means that the Parliament is a safe area and will remain safe when everyone who attends complies with the standard operating procedures (SOPs),” Zahid said.
The Umno president, who is also the Bagan Datuk MP, had first questioned when Parliament will reconvene on March 3.
At the time, he pointed out there were no more states under the full movement control order (MCO) anymore and that the Agong had said the emergency proclamation was not intended to block Parliament.
Therefore, he said, the sitting of Parliament should resume, despite the ongoing state of emergency.
Earlier this year, an MCO was imposed on Jan 13. A state of emergency was also imposed on Jan 11, but this was only made public a day later.
The emergency proclamation, which expires in August, also saw the suspension of Parliament.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had said the emergency was necessary to combat the Covid-19 pandemic but critics accused him of trying to block Parliament after losing his majority in the House.
Since then, Muhyiddin had regained his simple majority after another three PKR MPs defected to his side. The prime minister had also given his assurance that he will hold elections once the pandemic is brought under control.