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KUALA LUMPUR, March 3 — The Pakatan Harapan (PH) presidential council has criticised the recent explanation by de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan for not convening Parliament as baseless and unacceptable.
It urged the Cabinet to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to convene Parliament at the earliest possible date.
“The council regrets the excuses given by Datuk Seri Takiyuddin, which are weak, shallow, and do not respect His Majesty’s decree on February 24, when it was announced Parliament can convene during the Emergency period,” said the council in a statement.
It argued that confusion over Covid-19 standard operating procedures, the rakyat’s displeasure with uneven enforcement by the authorities, and insufficient or non-existent government help, among others, should be the driving factors behind why Parliament must meet immediately.
“As the country’s premier democratic institution, Parliament also serves as a place where the process of checks and balances on the government is conducted.
“Without Parliament including the Public Accounts Committee, this process is essentially neutralised,” said the council.
It dismissed Takiyuddin’s claims that parliamentarians are at risk of becoming infected with Covid-19, adding that based on evidence, no one caught the virus during the 55 days that Parliament sat last year.
“There were also no clusters that emerged during that time which were related to Parliament sitting. It should be remembered that none of the MPs were vaccinated at the time.
“These facts clearly prove that the steps and standard operating procedures taken by Parliament during its sitting last year are effective, which means it can convene without any delay presently,” said the council.
Earlier today, Takiyuddin said parliamentary sittings are discouraged at the moment due to the high risk posed by the Covid-19 virus to nearly half of the MPs and senators.
He claimed that of the 220 MPs in the Dewan Rakyat, 100 of them fall under the Covid-19 high-risks category, and that Putrajaya wants to avoid exposing the MPs to the virus in an enclosed area that could trigger the spread of infection.