The Perikatan Nasional government should hold a more substantive parliamentary meeting to debate measures to handle the Covid-19 pandemic, said election watchdog Bersih 2.0.
In a statement, Bersih 2.0 steering committee said the sitting can be conducted through online video-conferencing tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Web Meetings and Google Meet.
“This is to ensure that MPs can participate remotely and safely from their home or even from another part of Parliament House.
“Bersih 2.0 calls on the PN government under Muhyiddin Yassin to uphold the primacy of Parliament. Without doubt, when it comes to holding virtual parliament sittings, there are issues of the legal basis for remote participation, the security of the application used and authentication when it comes to voting.
“But we believe that these challenges are not beyond the capability of our technical and legal experts to overcome if there is a political will to uphold parliamentary democracy. This begs the question, is there a political will for the Muhyiddin government to face his parliamentary colleagues or will he hide behind the increasingly lame excuse of the Covid-19 virus,” Bersih 2.0 said.
Parliament was initially scheduled to meet for 15 days from May 18 after being postponed from March 9 following the change in government. However, the sitting was reduced to one day because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bersih 2.0 said it is illogical for the government to avoid holding Parliament sittings since the movement control order has been eased to allow businesses to operate.
It cited United Kingdom MPs allowed to debate online as an example.
“A maximum of 50 MPs is allowed into the chamber at a time to comply with social distancing guidelines. It should be noted that compared to the UK’s House of Commons Chamber, our Dewan Rakyat is extremely spacious. The fact that all 222 MPs could be seated in the hall in compliance with social distancing guidelines on May 18 is testament of this.” – TMI