By John Isaac
ALL MPs from both political divides must welcome the statement from the King that Parliament can reconvene even during the emergency period, said Bandar Kuching MP, Dr Kelvin Yii.
“This announcement is welcomed as we need to defend the independence and role of the legislature, especially the urgent need to provide proper oversight, check & balance in the spirit of transparency and accountability,” he said.
During this unprecedented time, he said, Parliament plays a pivotal role to provide parliamentary oversight to empower a more transparent, trustworthy, and unique legislature that is appropriate for current pandemic.
This will also help build confidence and acceptance of the government’s approach towards the pandemic especially during the vaccine rollout.
“That is why the initial move by the PN government to suspend Parliament was worrying and a threat to democracy as the executive cannot have free rein over the country’s affairs, without being held accountable by Parliament,” said Dr Kelvin.
This also clearly contravenes the Federal Constitution where it clearly states in Article 43(3) of the Constitution that “The Cabinet shall be collectively responsible to Parliament”
The Constitution never envisaged that Parliament would be suspended in a proclamation of emergency. In fact, for 35 years from 1977 to 2012, Parliament had operated under four Proclamations of Emergency.
That is why the government’s move to suspend Parliament and all legitimate activities of Parliament in the guise of an Emergency is somewhat draconian and a huge step back in parliamentary democracy, he said.
Without legislative scrutiny and accountability, the Executives becomes overly powerful without checks and balance.
“This is extremely dangerous during time of pandemic when unprecedented amounts of funds to manage the Covid-19 pandemic are being allocated.
“With the public statement from the YDP Agong, I hope the Government will reconvene Parliament as early as March so we can play our part to not just provide oversight to the government’s approach towards Covid-19, but also to raise different issues faced by our constituents.
“We can also push the government to set their plans on how they intend to stimulate the current economy for the good of the people,” he added.