MPs can intervene to ask questions and give their views during the five-day Dewan Rakyat special sitting from July 26, two Cabinet members said today.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Takiyuddin Hassan told Bernama that it was not true that the special sitting would be a one-sided affair with MPs listening to ministerial briefings.
“There is no one-sided explanation or just listening to briefings — that’s not true at all,” he said at the Kota Bharu MP’s service centre today.
Communications and multimedia minister Saifuddin Abdullah said the use of the words “explanation by the minister” in the parliamentary calendar was just a term and did not mean that elected representatives will be attending the Parliament session merely to hear the government’s explanation.
“The term ‘explanation’ means the minister will explain certain matters and, as far as I know, the Standing Orders allow MPs to intervene and ask (questions),” he said in a virtual media conference after presenting food baskets in the Indera Mahkota parliamentary constituency.
“It is up to the speaker to allow time for matters to be debated.
“It does not mean that one minister will speak and the others will only listen,” Bernama reported Saifuddin as saying.
Takiyuddin said among the matters to be discussed at the special meeting were the proclamation of Emergency on Jan 11, 2021, and the Emergency Ordinance.
“On the method used for the discussions, such as the duration given to the MPs, that is up to the speaker to decide,” he said.
When asked how the Dewan Rakyat sitting would be implemented, Takiyuddin said in principle, it would be held physically.
“However, it would depend on the SOPs and these are yet to be decided by the health ministry,” he said.
Takiyuddin and Saifuddin were commenting on claims by some opposition MPs that it would be better for the special sitting to be held virtually, including live on Facebook, if it was merely to listen to the ministers’ “lectures”.
Saifuddin also welcomed questions from netizens who were unclear on the use of the term “explanation by the minister”, saying this was a healthy development that allowed him and his colleagues in the government to provide accurate answers. – FMT