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Speaker Must Fulfil His Role To Protect Parliament’s Supremacy, Sovereignty, And Sanctity In The Constitution And As A Guardian Of Democracy

Press Statement
19th October 2020

The Speaker of Parliament Azhar Azizan Harun must fulfil his role to protect the supremacy, sovereignty, and sanctity of Parliament in the Federal Constitution and as a guardian of democracy. This would require the Speaker to forcefully and resolutely resist any effort to undermine Parliament’s role as an institution of nation-building and basis for democracy.

DAP regrets that there was lack of this resolute spirit by the Speaker when BN suggested the prorogation of Parliament, which BN states is the suspension of Parliament to maintain public order, the life of the economy, and political stability. Such a proposal by BN is outrageous and must be opposed and condemned, when both Parliament and democracy have energised our country’s political stability and national unity as well as grown our economy.

SA Vigneswaran is president of MIC and former president of Dewan Negara

By attempting to rob the people of their democratic mandate, proroguing Parliament would be no different from installing an unelected government of “putative dictators”. Further, this is also a direct assault on our Federal Constitution which places Parliament at the top tier of the 3 branches of government.

The Speaker had already attracted severe criticism for refusing to permit a no-confidence motion to be tabled against Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin when such a motion is given precedence, priority, and allowed in other democratic countries. He has clearly compromised his role of independence, impartiality, and neutrality by what is clearly seen as a political act, to save the current Federal Government on the wrong pretext of giving priority to government business.

A recent Parliament directive stating that Dewan Rakyat proceedings and the budget tabling will be limited to only 15 media agencies has only deepened this diminishing of democracy. This act of preventing the media from fully covering Parliament and the subsequent budget tabling next month appears to profile all media practitioners as COVID-19 high risks and is unjustified and unfair, when it is proven that members of the administration pose a higher risk.

Restricting open and free coverage of Parliament especially the right to freedom of information, would also jeorpardise an essential element in the promotion of democracy. COVID-19 should not result in putting the freedom of the press at risk, when it is independent reporting that will highlight any failures and weaknesses including managing the COVID-19 health crisis.

DAP urges the Speaker not to compromise Parliament’s special role and status but to deliver on his previous recorded promises on upholding the supremacy, sovereignty, and sanctity of Parliament.

Lim Guan Eng
DAP Secretary-General
MP for Bagan

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