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75,000 support call for two-week sitting: Aliran sends outcome of online petition to Parliament secretary

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Aliran has sent to Parliament Secretary Tuan Nizam Mydin Bacha Mydin the outcome of an online petition calling for an extension of the announced one-day Parliament sitting on 18 May 2020 by at least two weeks.

As of 15 May 2020, over 75,000 concerned individuals have signed the Aliran-initiated online petition, a clear indication that many ordinary people would like their elected representatives to be given a chance to speak up on their behalf and ensure that democracy prevails.

This afternoon we emailed and faxed a letter about the outcome of the petition to the Parliament secretary and copied it (via email) to the private secretary of the speaker of Parliament, the prime minister, the opposition leader, and the leaders of other larger political parties, both in government and the opposition, and Gabungan Parti Sarawak.

It is deeply disappointing that official notices made available thus far indicate that Parliament will be adjourned immediately after the opening speech by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong without any further discussion or debate. This is wholly unacceptable and makes a mockery of our parliamentary democracy.

The Covid-19 pandemic should not be used as an excuse to deny MPs an opportunity to carry out their responsibility of providing the necessary checks and balances under the concept of separation of powers. Other countries such as Singapore, the UK and Japan have already shown that parliament sittings can take place despite the pandemic.

Aliran strongly reiterates that the government of the day has a duty to ensure that parliamentary democracy is upheld. The legislature is the forum for elected representatives to articulate the voices of the people and to exercise parliamentary scrutiny over executive decisions, thus ensuring accountability and transparency.

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Denying the people a Parliament sitting of meaningful duration simply means depriving the people of their right to have their voices heard in Parliament. This is completely unacceptable and outrageous.

Aliran executive committee
15 May 2020
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