The Perikatan Nasional (PN) administration is more focused on defending the “Sheraton Move” rather than discussing the Covid-19 pandemic in Parliament, says former minister Mujahid Yusof Rawa.
In a media statement issued yesterday, Mujahid said that the Parliament speaker’s decision, to only have the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s address on the single-day Dewan Rakyat sitting on May 18 on the request of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, will waste the purpose of Parliament.
Mujahid said that this was not only because the legislature is the most important branch of government, aside from the executive and the judiciary, but that the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic necessitated the need for the outbreak to be debated in Dewan Rakyat to unite the country in tackling the health crisis.
“Is the PM (Muhyiddin) afraid of Langkawi’s (Dr Mahathir Mohamad) motion that utilises his (Mahathir’s) right to move a motion of no-confidence against him (Muhyiddin) when in fact the practice of a Commonwealth Parliament is to always focus first on motions on the government, rather than private motions?
“The PM should focus on the bigger agenda for the country via healthy debates to prove the solidarity of the people’s representatives against the crisis faced by the country at this very moment.
“In the PM’s ‘fear’ of Langkawi’s private motion, he (Muhyiddin) had traded the need for the motion on the government, which should be focused on. Members of Parliament also await the motion on the government to be debated in a healthy manner to achieve consensus for the country.
“I believe that the PN government has lost focus because its priority is to defend the righteousness of the “Sheraton Move”, rather than to jointly debate the Covid-19 crisis in Parliament,” Mujahid said.
He added that the single-day Parliament sitting on May 18 is merely to fulfil the requirement for a Dewan Rakyat session be held and has nothing to do with an opportunity to use the session to debate the bigger issue of the national health crisis.
“It is a primitive step backwards and jeopardises the sanctity of the country’s parliamentary institution,” he said.
The “Sheraton Move” in late February was a controversial meeting involving several factions from Bersatu and PKR teaming with Umno and PAS leaders, which eventually led to the downfall of the Pakatan Harapan government.
Yesterday, it was reported that a letter of notice for the one-day sitting of Parliament on May 18 only has a single agenda – the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s opening address – and this has slammed the door shut on any no-confidence motion against the Muhyiddin-led government.
The decision by Speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof has attracted brickbats from multiple quarters, among them former prime minister Mahathir, who questioned whether it could even be a parliamentary sitting if only a single agenda is allowed on the single-day May 18 sitting.
Former de facto law minister Liew Vui Keong also criticised the PN government’s decision, saying that it would pay a heavy price for “stealing” parliamentary democracy. – Malaysiakini