‘Parliament will reconvene once Covid-19 is under control’


PETALING JAYA: Once the Covid-19 situation improves in September or October, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin says Parliament will reconvene with tight standard operating procedures (SOP).

In his special address on the National Recovery Plan yesterday, Muhyiddin said his stand had always been that Parliament could reconvene once the Covid-19 situation simmered down.

“I want to give a commitment here that Parliament sessions can be held during this phase, which is around September or October, subject to tight SOP.

“This has always been my stand from the start – that the Parliamentary democracy system can function once Covid-19 cases are under control and we achieve herd immunity status, ” he said.

Muhyiddin also said he would continue upholding the principles of parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy.

“Let there be no groups who purposely try to stir anxiety and confusion among the rakyat, which will impede the government’s main duty of tackling the pandemic, ” he added.Pakatan Harapan and Umno have called for Parliament to reconvene, citing the need for the Dewan Rakyat to sit amid the worsening pandemic to better address bread-and-butter issues concerning the rakyat.

Parliament has been suspended since the emergency was proclaimed earlier this year to combat the surge in Covid-19 cases.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan has said that plans to implement a hybrid parliament system are being studied.

The system would involve the physical and digital participation of MPs and senators in Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara proceedings.

Takiyuddin, who is also the de facto law minister in charge of parliamentary affairs, said the proposed hybrid parliament mechanism aimed to ensure that the role of Parliament was not eroded as the country dealt with the pandemic.

Institute for Political Reform and Democracy (Reform) executive director Idzuafi Hadi Kamilan said reconvening Parliament would ensure that the Parliament and Parliamentary Select Committees could perform their constitutional functions.“Reconvening Parliament will also allow for the establishment of a Parliamentary Select Committee to give advice to the government with support from civil society and the public regarding the pandemic.

“It will also allow the other nine Parliamentary Select Committees to start their work.

“We believe that reconvening Parliament during the pandemic is in line with the spirit of a democratic Parliament in the 21st century, ” Idzuafi said.

But election watchdog Bersih 2.0 chairman Thomas Fann said it objected to the condition set by Muhyiddin that Parliament could only reconvene once Covid-19 cases were under control and Malaysia had achieved herd immunity.“At the rate of vaccinations currently, where we have only fully vaccinated 4.4% of the population, it may take another year to reach herd immunity. Parliament can and must reconvene, ” he said.

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