Putrajaya to consider hybrid Parliament sitting

By Chew Lip Song

THE Federal government has “agreed in principle” to reconvene Parliament  through a combination of face-to-face and virtual participation, following mounting pressure from the opposition for the legislatures to meet.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan said Putrajaya would look into how the hybrid meetings can be done for the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara.

The decision came following a meeting yesterday involving him, Dewan Rakyat speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun, Dewan Negara president Tan Sri Rais Yatim and their deputies.

“In the meeting, we agreed in principle to hold a hybrid Parliament where MPs will be able to take part physically as well as virtually.

“The meeting also agreed that more study on this would be done immediately, and a paper on this can be brought to the Cabinet for consideration and approval as soon as possible,” Takiyuddin said in a statement.

Among the matters discussed were the “infrastructural, technical, legal, standing orders and financial” aspects of such an arrangement.

He added that the move would help ensure that Parliament would be able to carry out its role amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Following the Emergency proclamation early this year, all legislatures have been suspended. But the King has said that the respective legislatures were allowed to convene.

The opposition has piled pressure on Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to call for the Dewan Rakyat to convene, amid talks that the ruling Perikatan Nasional had lost majority support following withdrawal of support for the premier from several Umno lawmakers.

Muhyiddin seized power in Feb 2020 with the help of Umno with a razor-thin majority. Dissatisfaction from a handful Umno MPs, including Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak and Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and the death of a few Muhyiddin-loyalist MPs had cast doubt over whether the PM still command majority support in the Lower House.