PETALING JAYA: The Cabinet must advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to quickly convene the next Parliament session, says the Pakatan Harapan secretariat council.
"There are no more excuses for Parliament not to convene. Therefore, the Cabinet must uphold the King's advice," it said in a press release on Wednesday (March 3).
"Among the excuses given were that laws do need to be passed in Parliament during the Emergency Ordinance and many MPs are at high risk of being infected with Covid-19 if Parliament were to sit," added the council.
It said that all the excuses were disrespectful towards the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong's decree on Feb 24, stating that the Parliament can convene during the Emergency ordinance.
The joint statement was signed by PKR secretary-general Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, Parti Amanah Negara secretary-general Datuk Dr Hatta Ramli and DAP national organising secretary Anthony Loke.
It said that confusion over Covid-19 standard operating procedures, double-standards in enforcement, inadequate welfare aid, and many other issues, were the reasons why the Parliament must convene immediately.
"As the nation's democratic institution, Parliament also serves as a place where check-and-balances happen. Without Parliament - including the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) - the process of check-and-balance is dead," said the council.
It added that Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan did not mention that throughout the previous 55-day sitting last December, no MPs were infected with Covid-19 even though they were not vaccinated.
"These facts prove that the steps taken during the Parliament sitting in 2020 are effective and the Parliament can convene without any more delays," Pakatan added.
The council added that the excuses given by Takiyuddin are unacceptable, given that certain parts of the country are already in the recovery and conditional movement control order phases respectively.
"More economic sectors are allowed to operate and the executive, as well as the judiciary, are able to function," said the council.
Earlier on Wednesday, Takiyuddin said in his capacity as the de-facto law minister that Cabinet had advised the Yang di-Pertuan Agong that the Parliament sitting will not be convened during the state of emergency that will last until Aug 1.
Takiyuddin had explained that there are many high-risk groups in the Parliament, given that 77 MPs are aged between 61 to 69, while another 19 MPs are aged between 70 to 79.
He added that four MPs are aged 80 and above.
There are 220 MPs in the 222-seat Dewan Rakyat following the death of former Batu Sapi MP Datuk Liew Vui Keong and former Gerik MP Datuk Hasbullah Osman.