COMMENT | Is the opposition living in the 14th century, too?

Jacqueline Ann Surin

Modified 2 Jun 2020, 11:53 am

COMMENT | As we all know, Parliament hasn’t been able to function since Muhyiddin Yassin and his supporters wrested power from Pakatan Harapan in late February.

The last parliamentary sitting proved undoubtedly that the prime minister's government didn’t want the legislature to be a crucial check-and-balance on the executive.

Worse, it was a waste of taxpayers' money when the one-day sitting on May 18 had only one item on the agenda – the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s address. MPs didn’t even get a chance to debate the royal address and pass the motion of thanks.

Indeed, with his refusal to use online platforms to convene a proper parliamentary sitting, Muhyiddin acts like he’s stuck in the 14th century. That was the last time the British Parliament legitimately could not meet because of the bubonic plague and because there was no Zoom.

The question, however, is what about the Opposition? Unfortunately, Harapan isn’t doing very much either to ensure Parliament’s vitality.

Here is a sample of what I mean. Veteran politician Lim Kit Siang complains, “How long will Parliament be hijacked?” Klang MP Charles Santiago laments that as a lawmaker, he feels “robbed” of his voice to ask about “legitimate and crucial issues in Parliament”. And former science minister Yeo Bee Yin has told successor Khairy Jamaluddin it doesn’t take rocket science to set up a virtual sitting for Parliament.

These are all legitimate views. But Harapan MPs need to be doing much more. They should be leading the way by adopting technology for their respective state legislatures in Penang, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Sabah, and/or agreeing to virtual meetings for Parliament. Instead, however, they have been...

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