KUALA LUMPUR (May 14): Opposition party leaders have expressed regret over the directive to limit the Dewan Rakyat session next Monday to just the royal address, saying it reflects the Prime Minister’s refusal to face Opposition lawmakers in the Lower House of Parliament.
“The directive is regretted and extremely disappointing as Parliament should function as a vehicle for the people’s voice and a pillar of democracy,” the leaders said in a statement today.
“It is also the first time in the over six-decade history of the Malaysian Parliament that a session will be held without a full meeting,” they said.
The statement was signed by Opposition Leader and PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (pictured), Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamed Sabu, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia ex-chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Parti Warisan Sabah president Datuk Shafie Apdal.
The Perikatan Nasional government has decided to amend the May 18 session’s agenda to have only the opening speech by the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, with no meeting thereafter, on grounds that COVID-19 pandemic has not subsided.
The Opposition leaders said they were also very surprised with the announcement of a change in the secretary to the Dewan Rakyat effective yesterday, just five days before the King’s address.
“This decision is very worrying, as it raises the perception of the existence of an improper influence by certain quarters over Parliament.
“Nonetheless, efforts by Opposition MPs from Pakatan Harapan, Bersatu and Warisan to return the people’s mandate to its rightful place is not affected by these efforts, and will continue,” the statement added.
The one-day Dewan Rakyat sitting was initially expected to be a heated one, following the speaker’s approval for a motion for no-confidence vote against Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin by Dr Mahathir.
It was also confirmed that only official media is allowed to be present in Parliament on that day, although government officials have stated that other news agencies can still publish news about the session.
The next Dewan Rakyat session will take place in July.
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