Parliament Needed To Address National Crisis

A Constitutional crisis? What played out at the parliament this week is a cause for alarm and the subsequent suspension of the special meeting is very concerning. These matters are being highlighted by Research for Social Advancement (REFSA),which is expressing concerns.

In a media release sent to BusinessToday, it said that while the government has repeatedly reminded Malaysians to shift our mindsets to live alongside Covid-19, the decision to lock down parliament runs contrarian to calls of embracing this new normal. How can the government confidently assure people that workplaces, commercial areas and other economic sectors can remain open in this pandemic if it is reluctant to do the same for parliament?

REFSA claims the postponement disappoints many Malaysians who want the government of Prime Minister, Tan Sri Mahiaddin Yasin to be accountable as per Article 43 (3) of the Federal Constitution and implement DYMM Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s request for parliament to debate the Emergency Ordinance. The government’s reluctance to proceed with this debate shows that the Prime Ministers administration has lost its legitimacy and the confidence of elected representatives in the Dewan Rakyat.

It stresses that this decision sidelines the parliament as an essential avenue in formulating effective solutions for challenges faced by the people as a result of the pandemic and the continuous implementation of disruptive ‘lockdowns’. The postponement of this special meeting also robs the chance for elected representatives to scrutinise the National Recovery Plan (NRP) and Economic Stimulus Packages while offering improvements for any gaps. This will have a direct adverse impact on the lives of the people.

REFSA calls on the government needs to continue with the special parliamentary session as scheduled to debate policy issues and the repeal of the Emergency Ordinance. The special meeting of the Dewan Negara which will last for three days, needs to be continued so that the government’s policy on managing pandemics and the economy can be reviewed and remedied by the Dewan Negara.

It has also emphasised the importance of the cabinet to provide information on government policies to the Select Committee. Cooperation with the nine JPKs is extremely important to examine the implementation of government policies so that it truly takes into account the views of all parties and gives a positive impact to the people.

Given the pressing situation on the ground, the Fourth Term Meeting of the 14th Parliament to be held should be brought forward so that parliament can discuss and examine government policies earlier in addressing health, unemployment, and cost of living issues faced by the people. It can also speed up the debate on the 12th Malaysia Plan (RMK12) which has been delayed for more than a year.

In conclusion the non-profit think tank believes the government needs to see parliament as a strategic partner and build bipartisan cooperation to rebuild the people’s confidence and the country’s direction in the recovery phase. Malaysians deserve to have a government that is responsible and able to work with parliament in these difficult times.

REFSA is a progressive, not-for-profit think tank that promotes social advancement in Malaysia. Since its inception in 2004, REFSA has been at the forefront of policy discussions and debates in the important political and socio-economic issues of the nation. Today, our aspiration hasn’t changed – we want to power the movement for a just, inclusive, and multiracial society

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