Aliran is deeply concerned that the government has allocated only five days for the much-awaited Parliament sitting starting on 26 July.
After a prolonged suspension of Parliament, such a brief sitting makes a mockery of our parliamentary democracy.
Many issues have cropped up since the last sitting: the measures taken to fight the pandemic, the economic stimulus packages and the financial aid for the people. These have serious implications for the wellbeing of the people and the economy.
MPs must have enough time to debate and deliberate on the effectiveness of these measures and to raise pertinent questions. They definitely need more than just five days. A three-week period should be the bare minimum.
As for the emergency ordinances gazetted during the emergency period, surely we do not expect Parliament to just rubber-stamp them. MPs will need to ask searching questions about how necessary these measures were or whether the crisis could have been handled differently without trampling on our democracy.
The rushed upcoming parliamentary sitting with little time for thorough debates defeats the purpose of holding a sitting. The people do not expect the MPs to just go through the motions. We want real transparency, accountability, and checks and balances.
Granted, it is important for this sitting to discuss the amendments to the parliamentary standing orders to enable a hybrid Parliament. But that discussion should not be held at the expense of deliberations on the critical issues of the day.
We call on the government to lengthen the parliamentary duration to enable wide-ranging debates so that MPs can have a more meaningful session without further delay. These should be televised live to the public.
A brief meeting of five days thoroughly short-changes the people.Aliran executive committee
6 July 2021