Hakam reiterates its call for the government to extend the Parliament sitting beyond the mere one day scheduled for 18 May 2020.
This is especially in light of the government’s recent decision to allow all businesses to operate with full capacity on 4 May 2020 and even to allow recreational activities like jogging and golfing.
It would be a complete mockery of the august house of Parliament and constitutional democracy in Malaysia if Parliament is deemed less essential than these activities. There is no excuse now for the government to restrict Parliament sittings to one day with no further dates in sight.
The law-making function of Parliament is essential to prepare Malaysia for the economic impact of Covid-19. The human resources minister himself announced that labour laws must be revised to suit Covid-19’s ‘new normal’ – how else does one do that without convening Parliament for more than one day?
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Other governments such as in the UK, Australia and Singapore have reportedly faced no difficulty in convening parliament to transact sessions. Arrangements such as virtual parliamentary hearings through teleconferencing, social distancing and the wearing of masks can be made. And these countries have indeed passed much-needed laws amid the pandemic to help people in need and support the economy.
Hakam calls for the government to put politics aside in these difficult times. Politics must not be a barrier to urgently needed people-centric legislation.
Lim Wei Jiet is secretary-general of Hakam