Can the Cabinet this morning perform a virtual miracle – retract the one-day Parliament decision and allow Parliament to meet for two days in-person and eight days in virtual meeting?
In Singapore, Parliament next week will amend the Singapore Constitution to enable the holding of a virtual Parliament.
Last week, the House of Commons in the United Kingdom met and agreed to plans to set up a digital debating chamber with 120 MPs able to take part remotely using Zoom video conferencing software and a maximum of 50 allowed to be physically present.
It held its first “virtual” digital Parliament proceedings the next day on 23rd April, which included a 45-minute Prime Minister’s Question Time which was conducted by the Foreign Secretary as the British Prime Minister was recovering from Covid-19, a ten-minute Ministerial statement by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock and a 45-minute question-and-answer session by Matt Hancock – and all the 100 minutes were focused specifically on one subject, the Covid-19 pandemic.
What is Parliament in Malaysia doing in the Covid-19 pandemic?
Indulging in the shocking and ridiculous idea of a one-day Parliament on May 18 which will put Malaysia in the forefront of the world in bad practice during the Covid-19 pandemic in emasculating and marginalising Parliament instead of pioneering best practices in new ways and norms for the performance of the parliamentary role of oversight and scrutiny of government measures during the Covid-19 pandemic!
It has been established beyond a shadow of doubt that the government decision of the one-day Parliament on May 18 had been made from a complete misunderstanding of the advice of the Health Ministry and medical experts in mid-April that the movement control order (MCO) imposed on March 18 was effective and successful in breaking the chain of transmission of the coronavirus and that the Covid-19 epidemiological had been flattened and Malaysia was on downward descent of the curve.
Have the Ministers committed so many blunders, whether on “warm water cure for Covid-19”, “Doraemon”, “Tik-Tok” or serious allegations of misuse of power and corrupt practices in the discrimination of food aid parcels for needy B40 families in Opposition constituencies that they dare not appear in Parliament for an accounting?
The Cabinet meeting later this morning is the country’s last opportunity to spare the country from the twin ignominy of a one-day Parliament and the bad practice to emasculate and marginalise parliamentary oversight and scrutiny of government actions in the Covid-19 pandemic.
Will the Cabinet do so, putting national interest above all other interests?
Will the Cabinet declare Parliament and the administration of justice as “essential” services in the Covid-19 pandemic, upholding the Malaysian Constitution and the Rukunegara principles of the supremacy of the Constitution, the separation of powers among the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary and the rule of law?
Will there be a virtual miracle by the Cabinet on a virtual Parliament?
We will know this morning.
Media Statement by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang on Wednesday 29th April 2020.