KKMP: Prime Minister should think twice before suspending Parliament

I urge the Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to carefully consider whether suspending parliament is a good idea, it is a serious decision that would greatly affect the people and lead to controversy.

News articles online today reported that the Prime Minister will have an audience with the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong with a proposal to declare a state of emergency which has already been widely circulated since this morning.

I urge the authorities to think twice about declaring of a state of emergency in Malaysia, and that if it is just to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, there is no need for Parliament to be shut down entirely as it could be seen as an attempt by the prime minister to avoid parliamentary scrutiny of the Government’s handling of the pandemic.

Worst still, Sabah’s parliamentarians arrived in Kuala Lumpur two weeks earlier for self-quarantine just to attend the upcoming session of parliament starting on November 2 during this pandemic. Could it be that our 14-day quarantine time would end up as a waste after all? As an MP from Sabah, I have no interest in flying to Kuala Lumpur to live in a hotel for nothing. We are here to perform the official duties of an MPs!

There are some reporting that the word “emergency” will be replaced and the wording will be repackaged. However, this cannot change the fact that this Muhyiddin government is incapable of fighting the pandemic and may have lost the confidence of his own supporters, that it had to resort to such a façade to stabilize the regime.

It is reported that after the state of emergency is proclaimed, this Perikatan Nasional (PN) government would carry out the following: –

  1. Focus on fighting the pandemic without political interference;
  2. Suspend Parliament temporarily;
  3. Members of Parliament will lose their privileges and powers in that they will not be able to support anyone as Prime Minister by signing an affidavit and/or submit a motion of no confidence;
  4. Cabinet positions are taken over by the National Security Council (NSC);
  5. Establishing of Security Councils at state and district levels;
  6. If required, certain laws and regulations could be suspended at any time according to their whims and fancies;
  7. Ban the activities of political parties and associations;
  8. Economic and commercial activities to continue as usual; and
  9. That the NSC would take over the drafting of next year’s budget.

It seems that the top priority of this state of emergency is actually to by-pass Parliament in approving a further budget for the fight against the pandemic. That is to say, after Muhyiddin was politically blackmailed by Umno for the past several weeks, although Umno is currently declaring a ceasefire, Muhyiddin still has no confidence in them and had to take some drastic actions like declaring a state of emergency to avoid Umno from upsetting the applecart, which is 2021 Budget.

Members of Parliament must be given the opportunity to review the annual budget proposed by the government in fulfilling the mandate given by the people. Even though this PN government led by Muhyiddin is not very stable having only a bare majority, it does not necessarily require a “state of emergency” to pass a financial bill.

We are all mature politicians. Subsequent to the Sabah election and with a third wave of Covid-19 cases hitting our shores, no political party is now calling for the dissolution of the parliament for elections. It is time for a truce deal with Muhyiddin Yassin’s government. To this end, the DAP had via National Organizing Secretary Anthony Loke stated its terms. Everyone should come to the negotiating table regardless of political differences and reconcile for the sake of the community.

In the event Muhyiddin insists on proceeding with the declaration of a state of emergency, he will be remembered in the history of Malaysia as being a cowardly Prime Minister who has zero confidence in himself that he had to rely on crippling the legislature to avoid scrutiny.

Chan Foong Hin
Media statement by Chan Foong Hin in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, 23rd October 2020