Parliament should convene, say Opposition MPs in special Emergency committee

PETALING JAYA: Opposition lawmakers in the special independent committee advising the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the state of emergency have called for a Parliament sitting to be held soon.

Kulim-Bandar Baharu MP Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, Anthony Loke (Seremban) and Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (Kuala Selangor) said the sitting could be held subject to all standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the Health Ministry, as done last year.

"Parliament is very important to ensure all agendas and measures to curb Covid-19 can be debated by Members of Parliament as well as ensure check and balance of all decisions made by the executive," they said in a joint statement on Tuesday (Feb 23).

The committee, which was set up on Feb 9, had its first meeting on Feb 18.

"A decision to return to Parliament will also give confidence to the world and foreign investors that Malaysia remains committed to a system of parliamentary democracy and the principle of the rule of law.

"Therefore, we will present this view consistently at the Special Independent Committee on Emergency meeting and hope that other committee members will also agree to it as the collective stance of the committee to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong," it said.

The committee, which operates independently, was set up under the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 to advise the King on the ongoing Emergency and when it should be lifted ahead of its scheduled end on Aug 1.

The 19 members involved Malaysians who are well-versed in the law, security, politics, healthcare, trade along with academics.

The committee also features several former senior government officials, including former chief justice Tun Arifin Zakaria, who serves as committee chairman.

Former chief secretary to the government Tan Sri Samsudin Osman, former inspector-general of police Tan Sri Norian Mai and former Armed Forces chief Tan Sri Zulkifli Zainal Abidin are on board too.

Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia president Tan Sri Ter Leong Yap, former health director-general Prof Tan Sri Dr Mohamad Taha Arif, and heart surgeon Tan Sri Dr Yahya Awang are also on the committee. Also on the committee are Cyberjaya University pro-chancellor Tan Sri Dr R. Palan, former deputy public prosecutor Datuk Sallehuddin Saidin, Perlis mufti Datuk Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, public health expert Datuk Dr Andrew Kiyu and former Sabah state secretary Tan Sri Sukarti Wakiman to the committee.

Other politicians in the committee include Tanjung Karang MP Tan Sri Noh Omar, Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim (Batang Lupar) Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun (Beaufort) and Dr Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh (Pasir Puteh).

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