Lim: Will Parliament be locked down until Budget 2021 session?

PETALING JAYA: The Perikatan Nasional (PN) government has been asked to clarify if Parliament will be fully locked down until the Budget 2021 session in September, with all parliamentary committees paralysed.

Although the earlier Parliament calendar states that the next parliamentary meeting will be in July for 25 days from July 13 to Aug 25, Members of Parliament are uncertain whether this calendar will be strictly adhered to as there had been four variations to the Parliamentary calendar for this year alone, DAP leader Lim Kit Siang said today.

“Furthermore, will all parliamentary select committees be frozen and paralysed for nine months of this year?” he asked in a statement.

“There are now 10 parliamentary select committees under the PN government, viz: Consideration of Bills Committee; the Budget Committee; the Rights and Gender Equality Committee; the Major Public Appointments Committee; the Defence and Home Affairs Committee; the Federal State Relations Committee; the Election; the International Relations and Trade Committee; the Human Rights and Constitutional Affairs; and Science, Innovation and Environment.

“It will be the height of parliamentary irresponsibility if for nine long months, all these 10 Parliamentary Select Committees are paralysed and cannot perform their constitutional role of parliamentary oversight and scrutiny of government actions, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The MP for Iskandar Puteri said it will be a further height of parliamentary irresponsibility if the real intention of the PN government is to dissolve all these parliamentary select committees.

“We are clearly in abnormal times, not just because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but because of a ‘backdoor’ government which is afraid to test its legitimacy in Parliament,” Lim said.

“For this reason, it will be fully characteristic of a ‘backdoor’ government to find new excuses from the Covid-19 pandemic to skip the July meeting of Parliament till the 2021 Budget session in September, which the government could not suspend unless it suspends parliamentary democracy altogether.”

Lim said Parliament should have set up a Parliamentary Select Committee on Health and Social Care when it met on May 18 to provide oversight and scrutiny of government actions in the Covid-19 pandemic, but the government was so afraid of a normal meeting of Parliament as it would have shown up its lack of majority in Parliament.