Pakatan insists on full Parliament meeting, says crucial to discuss easing curbs on businesses under MCO

PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim speaks to reporters during a press conference at the party’s headquarters in Petaling Jaya March 13, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim speaks to reporters during a press conference at the party’s headquarters in Petaling Jaya March 13, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, April 30 — The Pakatan Harapan presidential council pressed the government today for a two-week meeting of Parliament starting May 18 to examine economic and public welfare matters under the Covid-19 pandemic.

The first meeting of the year, which was delayed from March, has been truncated to a one-day sitting on May 18.

The council noted the federal government’s decision to allow several economic sectors to operate again during the fourth phase of the movement control order (MCO) beginning April 29 subjected to standing operating procedures (SOP) imposed previously. 

“Covid-19’s effect on the country’s economy is significant and many companies have lost their source of income and there are many who may also lose their jobs.

“The Bar Council and a number of business associations have also urged for several Acts to be amended or new laws to be passed to handle these problems and to ensure the economic sector can function properly.

“Problems faced by the rakyat also need attention specifically from Parliament which includes welfare issues, employment as well as check and balance on the government to ensure transparency in the management and the responsibility of the executive,” the council said in a statement.

The statement was signed by PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.

It added that procedures set by the Dewan Rakyat previously could facilitate the sitting for the aforementioned period.

The council also urged for several amendments to be made to the Standing Orders to allow Parliament to continue meeting, including through an online medium and with fewer MPs present without affecting the quorum or the proportional representation of each party.

This comes as Dewan Rakyat secretary Riduan Rahmat issued a circular to all MPs informing them of the one-day sitting, where only government Bills and matters would be discussed, with no oral and written questions or motions allowed in line with the movement control order (MCO).

Parliament was supposed to have convened for 15 days from May 18 after the initial sitting was postponed from March 9 following a week-long political impasse that saw Perikatan Nasional emerge as the new government.

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