PETALING JAYA: Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi wants the Parliament to reconvene immediately, saying it can do so using "science and data".
He said it has been 25 days since the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had given his royal decree, allowing Parliament to reconvene during the state of emergency.
"However, until now, no dates have been set by the government to enable Parliament to reconvene," he said in a Facebook post Sunday (March 21).
The Cabinet on March 3 had advised the Yang di-Pertuan Agong that the Parliament sitting will not be convened during the Emergency, says Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan.
The de facto law minister said the statement made by the Palace was to explain that there will be no Parliament sitting, and any decision to convene a sitting must be made by the Cabinet.
Ahmad Zahid said the function of Parliament was to act as a check and balance as part of the country's democratic system but was suspended based on the excuse of "science and data".
"It must be reminded that Parliament is the highest function in the democratic system.
"Parliament is also a forum for the rakyat to express their grouses via their representatives that are chosen during the general election.
"It is also a federal legislative body that checks on all the government's policies in the interests of the country," said the Bagan Datuk MP.
"Protecting the separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judiciary will avoid abuse due to centralisation of power," said the former deputy prime minister, who is currently facing graft charges.
"So, I believe that it is time for the democratic practices to be reinstated based on the evidence of science and data," he added.
He listed several suggestions on how Parliament can reconvene including through virtual platforms that are practised in other countries.
"Many lawmakers have already received their Covid-19 vaccine since the roll out of the National Covid-19 vaccination programme.
"Many social activities including schools have reopened and are operating as usual, so there is no reason for Parliament to remain closed," he added.
He also said that the Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker had posted on Facebook that he had a "run around" the Parliament building.
"This means Parliament is a safe area and will remain safe when everyone attends and adheres to the standard operating procedures (SOP), ” he said.