Umno and Pakatan repeat calls for Parliament to sit during Emergency

Keertan Ayamany
·2-min read
A general view of the Parlimen Malaysia sign in Kuala Lumpur November 29, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
A general view of the Parlimen Malaysia sign in Kuala Lumpur November 29, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, March 21 — Umno and Pakatan Harapan (PH) today repeated their calls for Parliament to reconvene, with both urging the government to refer to science and data when making decisions.

In a Facebook post today, Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Parliament was required to check and balance the government’s powers, and said that “science and data” can be used to determine that Parliament is safe to reconvene.

“First, Parliament can proceed in a safe manner, including virtually, like what is being done in other countries.

“Second, many Members of Parliament have been inoculated since the national Covid-19 vaccination programme began,” he said.

Zahid also cited the reopening of schools and the “Parliament Virtual Run 2021” as proof that Parliament would be a safe place if all in attendance followed Covid-19 preventive standard operating procedure (SOPs).

During the virtual run three days ago, Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon ran for 1.1km around Parliament.

Meanwhile, in a statement today, communication heads from PKR, Amanah and DAP echoed Zahid, saying that it has been proven false that Parliament was suspended to help control the spread of Covid-19.

The joint statement by Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil, Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad and Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming said that many policies introduced during the Emergency were poorly designed and the government needed to use a “scientific” and “data-driven” approach to drafting SOPs.

“For example, what proof does the government have that the initial RM1,000 compound for not following SOPs issued under Act 342 (Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988) was not effective in reducing the spread of Covid-19?”

“And what made the government think that increasing this fine to RM10,000 to individuals and RM50,000 to businesses will be effective in controlling the spread of Covid-19 in the country?” read the statement.

They then called for the immediate resumption of parliament “as a necessary step to save the country” and enact better designed laws, policies and regulations.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced the Emergency on January 12, along with the suspension of Parliament, after receiving the green light to do so from Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.

Since then several Emergency Ordinances have been passed including the increasing of compounds under Act 342.

Although the Agong has since issued a statement saying that Parliament can reconvene, Muhyiddin has remained largely silent on the matter.

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