Teresa Kok likens Parliament ‘special sitting’ without debates to hearing ‘ceramah’, says runs counter to Agong’s decree

Teresa Kok speaks during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur January 16, 2020. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Teresa Kok speaks during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur January 16, 2020. — Picture by Choo Choy May

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 17 — DAP’s Teresa Kok today questioned the purpose of reopening Parliament on July 26 for a special sitting where no Bill will be tabled for debate or for voting.

The veteran Seputeh MP said doing so would be a waste of time and money and goes against the purpose the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had in pushing for Parliament to reconvene as soon as possible.

With the country still in the grips of the Covid-19 health and economic crises, Kok said there were many pressing issues that needed to be addressed and would not be solved if debates and voting were disallowed.

“What the Perikatan Nasional government is doing by turning the upcoming Parliament session into a ceramah by ministers goes against the Agong’s decree and is an insult to the institution of Parliament.

“In my 21 years as an MP, I have never attended a parliamentary session that did not allow matters to be discussed and debated but can only ask for explanations and give our opinions during the minister’s brief.

“Isn’t this a waste of the Parliament and the MPs time?” she posed in a statement.

She pointed to several key ministerial briefs like the National Recovery Plan, Vaccination Programme, Emergency Ordinance and the various economic packages rolled out by the government as key matters that needed to be addressed and seriously debated by all MPs.

She said the Agong has requested Parliament be reconvened soonest possible after seven months of the Emergency for these very reasons.

“Our role as MPs is not to come for Parliament to listen to someone’s explanation or briefs by ministers. We are chosen by the people to bring to light problems in the policies of the government and to highlight the troubles the people are facing.

“This is why the Agong asked us to reconvene before August 1, 2021,” she said.

Earlier today, PKR President Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim called on the speakers of both the Dewan Rakyat and the Dewan Negara to allow ample time for all MPs to debate during the upcoming special session.

The “special sitting” in the lower House of Parliament will take place from Monday to July 29 and August 2, while the Senate will sit for three days from August 3 to August 5.

The Dewan Rakyat will only resume its regular session with debates and voting from September 6.

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