Malaysia Dateline

Is Parliament going to be fully locked down?

There is need for clarity from Perikatan Nasional Government, whether Parliament is going to be fully locked down until the Budget 2011 session in September, with all parliamentary committees completely paralysed?

Although the earlier Parliament calender states that the next parliamentary meeting will be in July for 25 days from July 13 to August 25, Members of Parliament are uncertain whether this calender will be strictly adhered to as there had been four variations to the Parliamentary calender for this year alone.

Furthermore, will all parliamentary select committees be frozen and paralysed for nine months of this year? There are now 12 parliamentary select committees under the Pakatan Harapan government, viz: Consideration of Bills Committee; the Budget Committee; the Rights and Gender Equality Committee; the Major Public Appointments Committee; the Defence and Home Affairs Committee; the Federal State Relations Committee; the Election; the International Relations and Trade Committere; the Human Rights and Constitutional Affairs; and Science, Innovation and Environment.

It will be the height of parliamentary irresponsibility if for nine long months, all these 12 Parliamentary Select Committees are paralysed and cannot perform their constitutional role of parliamentary oversight and scrutiny of government actions, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It will a further height of parliamentary irresponsibility if the real intention of the PN government is to dissolve all these parliamentary select committees.

We are clearly in abnormal times, not just because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but because of a “backdoor” government which is afraid to test its legitimacy in Parliament.

For this reason, it will be fully characteristic of a “backdoor” government to find new excuses from the Covid-19 pandemic to skip the July meeting of Parliament till the 2021 Budget session in September, which the government could not suspend unless it suspends parliamentary democracy altogether.

Parliament should have set up a Parliamentary Select Committee on Health and Social Care when it met on May 18 to provide oversight and scrutiny of government actions in the Covid-19 pandemic, but the government was so afraid of a normal meeting of Parliament as it would have shown up its lack of majority in Parliament.

How long more will Parliament in Malaysia be hijacked?

Is it any wonder that a recent report in the New York Times entitled “Democracy Fades in Malaysia as Old Order Returns to Power” said:

“Malaysia’s new government looks much like its scandal-stained old government. And under cover of the coronavirus, its opponents have been muzzled.”

Last month, the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, said that the people were “sick” of politics and that since he became prime minster, he had not thought about it.

Is this true?

He could not even convince foreigner observers.

This is what a recent “Leader” of Economist said:

“But politicking will not go away. The wobblier Mr Muhyiddin appears, the weightier the incentives he must dangle before wavering lawmakers to keep their backing. Already he has dished out more than 60 jobs as ministers or deputies—in a parliament of just 222 members.”

That was last week. He already has the most bloated Cabinet in Malaysian history – of more than seventy – with some of the most mediocre Ministers in memory.

The appointment of government backbenchers and politicians to GLCs, GLICs and other political appointments has become a great scandal of its own.

So much for Muhyddin’s absurd claim that since he became Prime Minister, he had not thought about politics, when he should be asked when he had stopped thinking about politics and securing a clear majority in Parliament since becoming Prime Minister.