Full Parliament meet needed as ministers using Covid-19 as ‘blank cheque’, says Kit Siang

Lim agreed the Covid-19 pandemic is a time of unprecedented national crisis, but said this could not be used as a reason for abuses of power, kleptocracy,  rampant corruption, mediocrity or sheer idiocy in government policies. —  Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Lim agreed the Covid-19 pandemic is a time of unprecedented national crisis, but said this could not be used as a reason for abuses of power, kleptocracy, rampant corruption, mediocrity or sheer idiocy in government policies. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 7 — Lim Kit Siang made yet another bid today for a full parliamentary meeting on May 18, insisting that Covid-19 spending must be examined as some ministers were allegedly using the pandemic as an excuse to act without oversight.

The DAP lawmaker claimed this is why corruption and abuses of power have begun to emerge before the Perikatan Nasional government was even 100-days-old.

“Senior Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali probably thinks he is being clever in tweeting about ‘political distancing’ at a time when country ‘needs rebuilding’, but his tweet actually betrays him as belonging to ministers who want a lockdown of Parliamentary oversight and scrutiny of government actions during the Covid-19 pandemic,” Lim said in a statement.

Although the Puteri Iskandar MP agreed the Covid-19 pandemic is a time of unprecedented national crisis in which Malaysians from all walks of life should put aside their differences and  unite to fight it, he also said this could not be used as a reason for abuses of power, kleptocracy,  rampant corruption, mediocrity or sheer idiocy in government policies.

“If there is a lockdown of Parliamentary oversight and scrutiny, then the fiascos, farces and blunders of the government in the past 68 days will become a common occurrence, whether the ham-fisted threat to state governments with legal action, or serious allegations of discrimination of food aid parcels for needy B40 families in Opposition constituencies.

“Is this why ministers do not want Parliament to have full session to carry out its oversight and scrutiny roles in the first hundred days of the new government, and the genesis for the ridiculous one-day Parliament on May 18?” Lim asked.

He also cited the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission investigation into a RM30 million contract to supply mass testing laboratory systems to the Health Ministry in connection with the Covid-19 pandemic, and the double-standards in sentencing for a single mother who was sentenced to eight days’ jail and a RM1,000 fine on appeal for breaking the movement control order while the daughter of a VIP was merely given a RM800 fine for a similar offence, as other instances of abuse.

“There can be no doubt that a lockdown on oversight and scrutiny roles of Parliament over government actions until the end of the Covid-19 pandemic will mean the death of democracy in Malaysia, for this is going to take up to two years until an effective vaccine against Covid-19 is developed and available widely,” Lim said.

On May 18, Parliament will convene for a single day, during which no debates or motions will be allowed.

The first Parliamentary meeting of the year was already postponed from March, after the Pakatan Harapan government collapsed.

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