The Perikatan Nasional government should learn a thing or two from our Malaysian youth. Instead of being the only government in the world to exploit Covid-19 pandemic to lock down parliament, they should figure out an alternative such as holding a virtual or online parliamentary session.
An online parliament is exactly what these young Malaysians are doing, which goes to show that where there’s a will, there’s a way. Clearly, PN couldn’t be bothered to find a way to uphold parliamentary democracy. Furthermore, they certainly don’t have the will or the mandate from the rakyat.
Even through the spread of Covid-19 and the enforcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO), a youth-led initiative has created a digital medium for a parliamentary sitting called ‘Parlimen Digital’ that will debate on responses to the pandemic.
Going live on 4 and 5 July 2020, 222 participants will debate and vote on two bills regarding how the Federal Government should improve its response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to one of its organiser, Eshaan Menon, Parlimen Digital is a ‘feasibility study’ in order to prove that Parliament can in fact be conducted online. You can view the whole Parlimen Digital session online here this 4 and 5 July .
Parlimen Digital is organised by 3 youth-led politically independent organisations:
In a virtual press conference, Eshaan said that,
“The main objective is to encourage Parliament to adapt and continue parliamentary proceedings amid the Covid-19 pandemic.”
More than 5,000 Malaysian youth applied to join in
Parlimen Digital has gotten 5,775 applications -all aged between 15 and 35- ever since announcing a call for participants on June 1. Approximately 66% of them were students and some 50% of them never even voted before.
A survey conducted on the applicants found that 79.2% felt that the one-day May 18 Dewan Rakyat sitting was not enough.
From Parlimen Digital, a guideline on how a digital parliamentary session can be held will be presented to:
– Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin
– Dewan Rakyat Speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof
– Dewan Negara President SA Vigneswaran
– All political parties.
Back in March, our neighbour Thailand tabled and approved RM257 billion stimulus package -the largest in Thai history- before Parliament. Moreover, countries across the globe have adapted to hold a parliamentary or legislative sitting online. These include Philippines, Maldives, Mexico, Mongolia, South Africa and Tanzania to name a few.
This just goes to show that our youth needs to be given a voice, something that is clearly lacking in PN compared to when Pakatan Harapan was government.