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Sorry state of Malaysia’s democracy after Parliament blockade

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The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) is extremely alarmed over the state of Malaysia’s democracy after yesterday’s sudden Parliament closure, which saw hundreds of MPs being denied entry to the august House.

This act is seen as deliberately preventing and subverting our democratic systems and the necessary checks and balances by undermining the role of parliamentarians for the sake of political expediency.

Deploying the Federal Reserve Unit and heavy police presence to block the people’s representatives from exercising their constitutional duties is disproportionate, unwarranted and clearly a violation of democracy and against the Constitution.

Parliament is supposed to be the pillar of democracy, but Malaysians have seen more targeted and oppressive tactics to silence dissenting voices.

We came to know that the health director general, Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, and Health Minister Dr Adham Baba were at Parliament yesterday to discuss issues regarding the prolonged lockdown and other Covid matters with the Public Accounts Committee. This directly goes against the justification provided for the closure, which was the detection of Covid cases in Parliament.

The rakyat need to hear the views of all parliamentarians in response to the various ongoing crises in Malaysia. Covid will be with us for the foreseeable future; hence parliamentarians need to set a good example of ensuring the continuation of work and business during this pandemic in a safe and enabling environment.

Wathshlah G Naidu is executive director of the Centre for Independent Journalism

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