Government should not bulldoze through with a one-day sitting of Parliament as it not only violates the Constitution and the parliamentary standing orders, it also breeds distrust and undermines confidence when public trust and confidence are keys to Malaysia winning the invisible war against the Covid-19 pandemic
The Government should not bulldoze through with a one-day sitting of Parliament as it not only violates the Constitution and the parliamentary standing orders, it breeds distrust and undermines confidence which are inimical to the “all-of-government” and “whole-of-society” approach which are keys to Malaysia winning the invisible war against the Covid-19 pandemic.
As the Health Director-General Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah said yesterday, we are now on a different battlefield: having succeeded in flattening the curve, the Malaysian public must now learn to live with the coronavirus for the next year or two until an effective vaccine is developed and widely available – ensuring that there is no resurgence of Covid-19 while reviving the economy which had been devastated by the Covid-19 outbreak.
All Malaysians must be engaged in the invisible war against Covid-19 in the next 12-24 months by abiding by the standard operating procedures (SOP) for every sector, with social distancing the main plank of the strategy.
Public trust and confidence are the key factors in this new battle in the invisible war against Covid-19 – and the government must be in the forefront to set such an example.
If the government sets the bad example of disregard for the Malaysian Constitution and parliamentary standing orders, how is it going to generate trust and confidence and therefore support and solidarity from the Malaysian general public for the invisible war effort against Covid-19?
The convening of a one-day Parliament is against the Constitution and the parliamentary standing orders as this is neither provided for by the Constitution nor the standing orders.
MPs received an email notice from Parliament on April 17 that there will be “no oral question sessions, written questions, motions and special chambers” during the one-day Parliament on May 18 but only the presentation of government bills.
The is putting the cart before the horse!
Standing Orders 14(1) set out what should be the regular Order of Business of any parliamentary sitting, and Question Time is high on the list of the regular Order of Business, ranked No. 8, while the presentation of government bills for first reading is rated much lower and ranked No. 14.
There is provision under S.O.26(i) to suspend Standing Orders and to change the regular “Order of Business” but this must be by way of a parliamentary motion which does not require notice to be given and passed by the House.
However, until such a motion is passed by the Dewan Rakyat, the order of business is as set out by S.O. 14(1).
Parliament was premature in sending out notice for a one-day Parliament and in changing the regular “order of business” under S.O. 14(i), when such a change is only valid when a motion to that effect is passed by Parliament, as even the Speaker of the House has no powers to suspend the Standing Orders.
I therefore call on the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to respect and uphold the Malaysian Constitution and the parliamentary standing orders and to ensure that Parliament meets for a full session instead of a ridiculous one-day Parliament on May 18.
This would also mean that MPs can send in their parliamentary questions until the Dewan Rakyat passed a motion to change the regular Order of Business on May 18.
I would be sending my questions to Parliament tomorrow.
The Parliaments of the nations worst hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, like United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Italy, France and Germany are in forefront in the invisible war against Covid-19 in their respective countries.
Parliament of Malaysia must not be on the side-lines, completely marginalised and emasculated in the pandemic.