We, the undersigned civil society groups, welcome the statement by Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament & Law) stating that the YAB Prime Minister who is also the Leader of the House has decided that Parliament will be reconvened no later than 1 August 2021. We believe this decision is influenced by the sustained pressure from a united public to restore the functions of the legislatures so that they may address the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic issues that are engulfing the country.
- We hope that the final decision of the Cabinet, which is expected to meet on July 7 will be consistent with the Minister’s statement today and that there will be no further delay of parliamentary sittings, or a reversal of position. If Parliament does not convene by August 1, it will exceed the six-month maximum interval between sessions, and when the Emergency ends on August 2 it could trigger an automatic dissolution requiring that general election (GE) must be held within 60 days.
- Taking note that several states have announced the proposed dates of their Legislative Assembly (DUN) sittings after 1 August, we reiterate our call for all DUNs to reconvene on or by 1 August 2021, as proposed in our statement on 27 June 2021. So far, only the Melaka DUN has planned to reconvene in mid-July.
- If the DUNs of other states do not take steps to reconvene on or by August 1, then it may trigger an automatic dissolution and state elections will have to take place in these states. Snap elections, whether at the federal or state level, will be detrimental to the public as the pandemic continues to plague the country with nearly 7,000 new positive cases today.
- Parliament and DUNs are the most important organs in a democracy and should be considered essential institutions, especially when the country is struggling to get out of the shackles of the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislatures are the right platform to decide the appropriate solutions for the rakyat’s wellbeing.
This statement is initiated by the Seed Community for a Professional Parliament, a network of individuals active in civil society organisations, think tanks and academia working towards a professional Parliament that facilitates healthy policy competition between parties.
- Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0)
- Institute for Political Reform and Democracy (REFORM)
- Bait Al-Amanah
- Pusat KOMAS
- Persatuan Pengundi Muda (UNDI18)