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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Don't castrate Parliament with delays - Umno Youth chief

 


Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki has called on the government to reconsider its decision to postpone Parliament until August.

He also appeared to pooh-pooh de facto Law Minister Takiyuddin Hassan's reasoning that MPs would be exposed to risk, as the lawmakers would be vaccinated under phase one of the vaccination programme.

"The government should not be seen as afraid and trying to castrate a democracy by denying the people's voices and mandate to MPs to debate and bring their issues to Parliament," Asyraf said in a statement issued last night.

He added that the government should respect the Yang di-Pertuan Agong's advice that Parliament can be convened during the emergency session.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong said Parliament can convene during the emergency, but he would not call for a sitting unless advised to do so by the prime minister.

Yesterday, Takiyuddin said that the sitting of Parliament was being delayed until after the emergency ends on Aug 1, so that the government could focus on the Covid-19 pandemic.

He also argued that 100 MPs were in the high-risk Covid-19 group.

The minister said that it was not necessary for Parliament to convene at the moment as the King was empowered to make emergency ordinances.

Critics, including Asyraf, have pointed out thatb postponing the Parliament session does not make sense, as the pasar malam, shopping malls, restaurants and schools are re-opening.

The Perikatan Nasional government, however, has a tenuous grip on the Dewan Rakyat.

On Sunday, it secured the support of two MPs who defected from PKR.

This ostensibly gives it a simple majority in the Lower House, after two Umno MPs withdrew their support for the PN in January.

However, there is a chance that other Umno MPs may also withdraw support for the PN if Parliament reconvenes.

Umno has sent a letter to Bersatu, the lynchpin of PN, ending its cooperation once the next general election kicks off. -Mkini

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