Opposition reps press for Parliament to reconvene

Many parts of the country are under MCO 2.0 and the state of emergency to tackle Covid-19 is in place until August 1. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Najjua Zulkefli, February 23, 2021.

OPPOSITION lawmakers on the emergency committee to advise Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the Covid-19 situation in the country said they pushed to lift Parliament’s suspension at their first meeting last Thursday.

The three members of parliament – Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (Kulim-Bandar Bharu), Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (Kuala Selangor) and Anthony Loke (Seremban) – said in a statement Parliament could convene even during the emergency as long as it complied with all the standard operating procedure set by the Health Ministry.

They noted that this had been done throughout the pandemic last year.

Calling Parliament back to session is important to ensure all agendas and measures to curb Covid-19 could be debated by MPs, they said.

There should be a check and balance of all the decisions on the pandemic.

“The decision to reconvene Parliament will also provide confidence to the outside world and foreign investors that Malaysia remains committed to the system of parliamentary democracy and the principles of rule of law,” they said.

The emergency, declared on February 18 to tackle the pandemic, suspended Parliament and gave the government extra special powers to handle the situation.

The 19-member committee led by a former chief justice Arifin Zakaria will advise the king on when to lift the state of emergency.

Among its members include former chief secretary to the government Samsudin Osman, former police chief Norian Mai and former armed forces chief Zulkifli Zainal Abidin.

Other members include Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia president Ter Leong Yap, Cyberjaya University pro-chancellor R. Palan and Perlis mufti Asri Zainul Abidin. – February 23, 2021.

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