Parliament must debate on the Emergency Proclamation and Ordinances as decreed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong!
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Iskandar Puteri, Lim Kit Siang has called upon the Prime Minister alongside de facto Law Minister to deliver on their promise that there would be debates when Parliament reconvenes on 26 July 2021. This is following a flurry of criticism from a majority of MPs which likened the special five-day Parliament sitting as being nothing but a glorified ‘briefing session‘ from Perikatan Nasional (PN) Ministers with not a single debate session being scheduled.
The de facto Law Minister, Takiyuddin Hassan has since promised for debates to be held whereby in a statement on 18 July 2021, he claimed that Prime Minister Mahiaddin Yassin has sent a letter to both the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara speakers to allow for MPs to debate and ask questions. However, whether or not this is just another empty promise by PN remains to be seen.
Referencing Takiyuddin’s statement, Lim Kit Siang in his own statement on 19 July urged for both the Law Minister as well as Mahiaddin to deliver on their promise. The veteran DAP lawmaker stressed,
“We do not want double-talk or duplicity. Let Muhyiddin and Takiyuddin deliver on their promise that there would be debate in the five-day special meeting of Parliament beginning next Monday.”
Lim further commented that not allowing MPs to debate during a 5-day Parliament special meeting is ’most extraordinary’ and arguably has never been done before in any Legislative assemblies in the world.
Furthermore, not having any debate during the special session would be against the decree of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. His Majesty has repeatedly called for Parliament to reconvene in order for MPs to debate on the Emergency Proclamation and Emergency Ordinances.
Therefore, given that Ministerial statement in Parliament would not usually permit clarification or debate and that different Ministers have been assigned to give a core Ministerial statement each day, Lim suggested for the Parliamentary sitting format to be slightly adjusted. These adjustments include:
- Allowing for debate on a Ministerial statement after it has been made by the relevant Minister.
- Allowing MPs to seek clarification from a Minister as well as state their views on the subject of the Ministerial statement during the debate.
- The Ministerial statement can then wind up the debate at the end of each sitting by responding to the clarification sought and the views expressed by MPs.
- As there is no Question Time, each sitting will have six hours of debate time. The Speaker should inform the Parliamentary Opposition Leader how many Opposition MPs would be allowed to speak on each of five days of the special meeting of Parliament, so that preparations could be made beforehand.
- Each Ministerial statement should be circulated to MPs before the speech but embargoed from publication to enable smooth and efficient debate.
- Debate on the Emergency Proclamation and Ordinances must be ended with a vote.
Let’s hope that Takiyuddin and Mahiaddin hold true to their words and that debate sessions would take place during the Parliament sitting on 26 July. Then again, would anyone be surprised if this #KerajaanGagal breaks another promise? – The Rocket.