The King and prime minister have been urged by 90 parliamentarians from six countries to allow Parliament to continue functioning without restrictions as soon as possible.
In a joint statement yesterday, the lawmakers said it is important for Parliament to convene to ensure government accountability, review the emergency measures, protect human rights, and contribute to major policy decisions.
The statement was signed by lawmakers from Thailand, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Cambodia, Philippines, Singapore, and Myanmar.
“Malaysia’s emergency powers clearly do not meet these established international standards and create an environment where government accountability is severely limited, and the abuse of power more likely to occur.
“As the body through which the will of the people is expressed, Parliament holds a central position in a functioning democracy, and its current suspension effectively removes public participation from the decision-making process.
“This is particularly worrying at a time when the government’s decisions will have long-lasting consequences on the lives of the people,” the statement read.
They said it is more vital than ever for Parliament to function effectively and provide safeguards against any potential misuse of power.
In light of the emergency proclamation as announced by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin last month amid growing Covid-19 cases, the Parliament and state assemblies will not convene until a date deemed suitable by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
The emergency is in effect until August and will be retracted upon the advice of a special committee comprising 19 figures of various backgrounds, including three MPs from the opposition.
The parliamentarians also expressed concern over additional powers given to the armed forces during the emergency to arrest undocumented migrants along the borders.
“We would like to remind authorities that, to ensure emergency measures are not used to crack down on human rights or to permanently usurp democratic institutions, they should be necessary and proportionate in addressing the threats they are meant to mitigate, in this instance to curb the spread of Covid-19.
“Such powers should be temporary, subject to effective legislative and judicial oversight, and not be used discriminatorily to target specific groups,” they said. – Malaysiakini