It is not Covid-19 pandemic but Muhyiddin’s panic at Mahathir’s motion of no confidence that is responsible for the unparliamentary truncation of Parliamentary proceedings on May 18

It is not Covid-19 pandemic but the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s panic at Tun Mahathir’s motion of no confidence that is responsible for the unparliamentary truncation of Parliamentary proceedings on May 18.

Mahathir said he submitted a motion of no confidence to question whether Muhyiddin truly had the support of the majority when he was sworn in as Prime Minister on March 1, 2020, but Muhyddin’s panicky reaction demonstrates that even now, he does not have the majority numbers to survive Mahathir’s motion of no confidence.

The further truncation of the parliamentary business on May 18 to only permit the delivery of the Royal Address by the Yang di Pertuan Agong violates the Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders.

The Prime Minister had acted under Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders 11(2) and 15(2).

Standing Order 11(2) provides for 28 days’ notice to be given for “the dates on which the House shall meet” and had nothing to do with “business” of Parliament which is provided in S.O. 14, while S.O. 15(2) is totally irrelevant as it provides that “government business” shall be set down by the government.

The argument that the further truncation of parliamentary business on May 18 is in line with the situation where the country is still recovering from the Covid-19 outbreak does not bear examination.

When on April 17, Parliament first sent out the notice of the Parliament sitting on May 18, daily increase of Covid-19 confirmed cases was in three-digit figures, ranging from 110 to 184 cases the previous week, whereas on May 12, when the Prime Minister wrote to the Speaker, the daily increase of 16 Covid-19 confirmed cases has fallen to the lowest number since the movement control order (MCO) was imposed on March 18 – which registered a daily increase of 117 cases – and in the previous week the daily increases were in double -figures ranging from 16-70 cases.

Can the Prime Minister can explain this anomaly?

Is the Prime Minister now saying that unless we have won the war against the Covid-19 outbreak, with zero case, Parliament oversight and scrutiny will continue to be locked-down and Parliament will be unable to deal with Mahathir’s no-confidence motion?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) emergencies director Dr. Mike Ryan has just said in Geneva that the Covic-19 virus may never go away.

Warning against trying to predict when the virus would disappear, he said that even if a vaccine is found, controlling the virus will require a "massive effort".

Nearly 300,000 people worldwide have died because of Covid-19, and more than 4.4 million cases have been recorded.

Is Parliament in Malaysia going to be locked down indefinitely, and parliamentary oversight and scrutiny of the government suspended to allow for the return of abuses of power, rampant corruption, revival of kleptocracy and widespread violation of human rights?

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri