Kit Siang wants assurance that Parliament won't be in lockdown until September

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah delivers the royal address during the opening of the first meeting of the third session of the 14th Parliament in Kuala Lumpur May 18, 2020. — Bernama pic
The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah delivers the royal address during the opening of the first meeting of the third session of the 14th Parliament in Kuala Lumpur May 18, 2020. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, May 26 — DAP's Lim Kit Siang today urged the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government to clarify whether the Parliament sitting will commence before the Budget 2021 session in September, as the various Parliamentary Select Committees have not met since last year.

He said although the next Parliamentary meeting is scheduled to be held from July 13 to August 25, members of Parliament are uncertain whether this calendar will be strictly adhered to as there had been four variations to the Parliamentary calendar this year.

“There are now 12 Parliamentary Select Committees under the Pakatan Harapan government — 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; 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,” he said in a statement today.

Lim said the failure to have a full sitting on May 18 to talk about the Covid-19 pandemic was also regretful as the government missed the opportunity to 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. 

He said the failure also led to foreign observers to view the current government as lacking legitimacy by passing over the Parliament sitting

“The appointment of government backbenchers and politicians to Government-Linked Companies (GLCs) and Government-Linked Investment Companies (GLICs) has become a great scandal of its own," he said. 

Lim said the Opposition had asked for the May 18 Parliament sitting to be expanded so that important matters on Covid-19 pandemic could be tabled.

De facto law minister Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan had said that the one-day Parliament sitting was convened with the purpose of fulfilling the constitutional obligations enshrined under the Federal Constitution in order to avoid the Parliament being automatically annulled.

The one-day sitting of the Dewan Rakyat saw the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah delivering his royal address with no debates following thereafter.

Takiyuddin also said he believed the 25 days allocated for the next Parliamentary session in July was more than enough for the Opposition to provide constructive criticism and views if debates are allowed.

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