Shortened Parliament session due to Covid-19 unacceptable, says Dr M

A Parliament that does not allow debates is not a Parliament, says the ex-PM

Afiq

pic by BERNAMA

FORMER Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (picture) said yesterday’s shortened Parliament session on coronavirus precautions did not uphold the spirit of democracy.

Dr Mahathir, speaking to reporters after the half-day session, said a Parliament that does not allow debates is not a Parliament.

He said every MP should be allowed to speak on behalf of their constituencies, including to test the legitimacy of the present government under PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Dr Mahathir submitted a request to table a motion of no confidence against Muhyiddin on May 7, which was accepted by Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof to be presented on Monday.

However, yesterday’s session was reduced to just the delivery of the King’s speech under instructions from Muhyiddin as chairman of the House of Representatives.

Dr Mahathir said using the Covid-19 pandemic as an excuse to exclude all debates is not acceptable.

“Everyone in the House complied with the health guidelines set by the Parliament officers and everything was all in place and in order, which I must congratulate them.

“The lawmakers were also on masks all the time and asked to wash hands two times before entering the hall.

“So, we cannot accept the excuse that we can only meet for two hours because of the pandemic,” Dr Mahathir said.

In late February, Dr Mahathir resigned as PM after Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president Muhyiddin moved to take the party out of Pakatan Harapan, causing the collapse of the government.

Dr Mahathir, who said he is still Bersatu chairman, said the move to take the party out of Pakatan Harapan did not go through proper channels and therefore invalid.

Muhyiddin went on to form the present government under the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition, which includes PAS, Gabungan Parti Sarawak, Umno, MIC and MCA with a claimed majority of 114 out of 122 seats. Dr Mahathir said the no-confidence motion is the only way to test PN’s claim of majority.

“It is my right to move the motion because it is the right of any MP, irrespective of whether his motion is going to be accepted or rejected.

“However, in this case, we feel that it is through this motion that we can expose the wrongdoings of the government,” the Bersatu chairman said.

“Although there may be some people who will say we do not have the majority, we hope some good sense will prevail among the MPs, so that they will back a motion that is meant to save the country from someone who is not doing good for the country.

“It (current government) is not like the previous governments that commanded a two-thirds majority. They only have a few (to make up the majority) and we believe that when we expose the government, there will be those within the ruling party who will support us.

“If we do not push for the motion, then no one will know the reasoning why it was tabled, and it is my right to table the vote of a no-confidence motion against the government,” Dr Mahathir said.