Attendance in Parliament is the Trust and Responsibility from the Rakyat, Not for Fun

We, the undersigned civil society groups, take seriously the failure for the quorum to be met during the afternoon session of the Dewan Rakyat yesterday, 21 September 2021. This situation caused the sitting to be temporarily postponed in order for MPs to enter the House to fulfill a the quorum of at least 26 members (12%).

  1. We condemn the embarrassing incident with 201 (91%) MPs for skipping the session, an act tantamount to an insult to the august House as well as tarnishing the image of elected representatives who are entrusted by the rakyat. This indifference reflects the lack of seriousness of MPs whether on the part of the government or the opposition in carrying out their responsibilities, maintaining discipline and upholding the trust given by the rakyat while the Parliamentary session is on going.

  2. We are disappointed and question whether the clamour to reopen Parliament previously during the Emergency by most MPs, especially in the opposition and UMNO, were just rhetoric and lip service? This also seems to make a mockery of the Memorandum of Understanding on Transformation and Political Stability signed between the PN-BN-GPS-PBS government and the official opposition PH that includes parliamentary reforms.

  3. Although it is not possible for all MPs to be in the House at all times, it is a shame when the quorum is as low as 26 members, which is less than the number of MPs for any combination of PH (90), PN (54), BN (42) and DAP party (42), UMNO (38), PKR (35), and Bersatu (31), could not be met. The party chief whip for the PH, PN, BN coalition and the DAP, UMNO, PKR, and Bersatu parties, must openly and unconditionally apologise to Malaysians for their lack of appreciation and the failure of their coalition or parties to ensure the Parliament can convene smoothly after being entrusted with more seats than the quorum of Parliament.

  4. Therefore, we urge party leaders, coalitions and every MP who represents the voice of the rakyat in the Dewan Rakyat to ensure that there is internal and inter-party or coalition coordination that will guarantee;

    1) Attendance of at least 50% of members at any time during the sitting.
    2) Attendance of at least 50% of the sitting days for each MP.
    3) No more failure in reaching the quorum of 26 members at each sitting.

We and all Malaysians hope all MPs are aware of the responsibilities and trust that they carry as representatives of the rakyat’s voice. Many have fought for the parliament to reconvene, therefore they should optimise the Parliamentary sittings to bring forward the issues of the rakyat and the country in the interest of economy recovery and the betterment the livelihood of the rakyat, especially when the COVID-19 pandemic has yet to be subsided.

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.

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Signed by:

 

  1. Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0)
  2. ENGAGE
  3. Institute for Political Reform and Democracy (REFORM)
  4. Persatuan Pengundi Muda (UNDI18)
  5. Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS
  6. Bait Al-Amanah