The Coalition for Clean and Fair Election (BERSIH 2.0) welcomes the announcement yesterday (5 July) by Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on the reconvening of the Parliament for five days (26-29 July and 2 August) for Dewan Rakyat and for three days (3-5 August) for Dewan Negara.
We humbly seek enlightenment from the PMO as many questions are unanswered in the three-paragraph statement. These questions include:
- Since no Royal address is mentioned, is this considered the fourth meeting of the Third Session (2020)?
- When do the PM plan to convene the Fourth Session (2021), which must starts with the Royal address?
- While the Emergency Proclamation and Ordinance will be “laid before both Houses of Parliament” as per Article 150(3), will MPs get to table and vote on resolutions to revoke any of them, such that they can cease to have effect immediately and not wait until their expiration six months after the end of Emergency as per Article 150(7)?
- Specifically, will the Parliament be allowed to repeal Sections 10A and 10B of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 which gives the Federal and State Governments unchecked power on financial matters? If not, will such unchecked power persist up to 1 February 2022, six months after the Emergency ends on 1 August 2021, as per Article 153(7)? Relatedly, will the government be ready to defend its EPF withdrawal policies and its decision to draw from the National Trust Fund (KWAN) to finance vaccination under the Emergency (National Trust Fund) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 and answer questions on the statutory debt ceiling and reveal details of the 5G mega project?
- Specifically, will the government allow the Parliament to repeal the Emergency (Essential Powers) (No 2) Ordinance 2021, which imposes sentences up to a fine of RM 500,000 and 6 years of imprisonment at the maximum for offences related to fake news, and suspends the Evidence Act 1950 (Act 56)? If not, will this draconian law continue to be in force until 1 February 2022, six months after the Emergency Proclamation ends on 1 August 2021, as per Article 150(7)?
- Will the National Recovery Plan be debated and voted by MPs, with amendments in approval if necessary, or will this five-day session merely a one-way briefing from the Executive to the Opposition MPs and Government Backbenchers?
- Will the Selection Committee of Dewan Rakyat which decides the number and membership of all other parliamentary committees also be convened to meet a rising demand amongst Malaysians suffering from policy chaos, ie, to establish more Parliamentary Special Select Committees (PSSCs) so that every ministerial portfolio will be scrunitised by a PSSC to avoid policy blind spots, public backlashes and policy flipflops?
We hope the Cabinet’s meeting on 7 July will resolve to make the 5-day parliamentary meeting a new start for a professional and effective Parliament, and not a cynical and perfunctory move to deflect the public’s demand but retain the Parliament as the Executive’s rubber stamp. The public’s patience must not be tested.
The Steering Committee of BERSIH 2.0