Media statement by MP for Bukit Gelugor and DAP National Legal Bureau Chairman, Ramkarpal Singh on 29 June 2021:
Abandon the idea of a Hybrid Parliament and convene as soon as possible
The revelation today that the King has reiterated his stand that Parliament needs to reconvene as soon as possible, is yet another indication of Putrajaya’s unwillingness to reconvene Parliament despite there being no impediment in doing so.
The Speakers of the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara have been recently quoted as saying that a Committee has been set up for the purpose of studying the possibility of a hybrid sitting of Parliament and hopes that same would convene by the end of August or early September of this year.
De facto Law Minister Takiyuddin Hassan has also said the government will target the said August-September timeline to reconvene Parliament as proposed by the said Speakers.
This is not the first time that the King has indicated that Parliament ought to sit as soon as possible and it is certainly sound advice, having regard to the pandemic which has wreaked havoc in the country and its poor management by the government which needs to be urgently debated.
The Prime Minister should seriously consider the views of the King and advice His Majesty to reconvene Parliament immediately.
The said Speakers are also on record saying that a Special Sitting of Parliament will be held in early August for the purpose of discussing the technicalities of a hybrid Parliament.
This clearly indicates that Parliament can sit physically and since all Members of Parliament have been vaccinated, there ought to be nothing to prevent an emergency sitting for at least a week to debate matters relating to the management of Covid and the said Emergency Ordinances.
Takiyuddin also said the notice to convene Parliament will be made after the emergency expires on August 1 and must be 28 days before the sitting convenes.
This is unnecessary as the said 28 day notice can be dispensed with under Order 9 (2)(a) of the Standing Orders of the Dewan Rakyat.
Indeed, this was done when an emergency sitting of Parliament was had following the MH17 tragedy in 2014.
In light of the above, I urge the Prime Minister to advice the King to convene an emergency sitting of Parliament which can be held as soon as early July.
The government should abandon the idea of a hybrid sitting of Parliament in light of the grave urgency that has arisen as a result of the pandemic, as such a hybrid sitting will take months to materialise.
The Prime Minister should act now and enable Parliament to sit as early as next week.
This would give effect to the views of the King that it is imperative for Parliament to sit as soon as possible.