THE United Nations Association Malaysia (Unam) welcomes the statement by His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong that Parliament can convene during the ongoing Emergency. Unam underlines that a functioning Parliament is necessary for a system of checks and balances that is the basis of democracy and representative government.
As Parliament would be able to thoroughly debate pressing issues facing Malaysians as a result of many Covid-19 response measures, including a sustainable and rights-based pandemic response, it is clearly incumbent on the Prime Minister to take steps to reconvene Parliament as soon as possible.
Malaysians are concerned about the state of the country’s economy, the adverse impact that the pandemic is having on the country’s healthcare, employment prospects and the general welfare of society.
The right to education has been severely affected, particularly for rural and marginalised children. While the government has tried to facilitate a shift to virtual learning, one year on, many students still do not have the technical support to engage in virtual learning, and the technological divide is apparent.
Many pupils have been disadvantaged by a lack of access to the Internet and lack the resources they need to learn at home. These children are at risk of long-term academic disadvantages. Unam would like to remind the government of Malaysia’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, namely Goal Four: Achieving inclusive and quality education for all. We call on the government to propose a national education roadmap for all schools in response to Covid-19-related school closures.
The pandemic has caused more Malaysians to fall into the extreme poor category, which necessitates government and Parliament to urgently consider a comprehensive, sustainable and inclusive economic recovery plan for the country.
It is important that this recovery plan is subject to full accountability and transparency.
Unam stands ready to assist on the ground and to contribute towards joint efforts to develop a comprehensive, inclusive and rights-based national recovery plan as well as to support digital initiatives for Parliament to convene virtually, in keeping with strict Covid-19 prevention standard operating procedures.
Unam continues to be concerned about the imposition of Emergency rule which led to the suspension of Parliament.
UNITED NATIONS ASSOCIATION MALAYSIA (UNAM)