Vigneswaran: Postponement of Parliament a reasonable step

by Theleaders-Online | October 15, 2020 5:12 am


The impact of the covid-19 pandemic has affected our country from various aspects including public order, economic development and even political stability.

Political stability factors are indirectly affected by the implementation of movement control orders, in addition to the relevant standard operating procedures (SOPs).

It should be emphasized here that the implementation of orders and SOPs is a mandatory requirement to curb the transmission of the dreaded third wave of Covid even though it places constraints on various important matters.

What is clear here is that our country needs a peaceful and stable political scenario if we want to repeat the success of leveling the curve of the COVID-19 graph and also reduce the spread of cases in the community as before.

Taking into account all this, indeed the best option for now for all parties is to refer to what is provided in Article 43 (4) of the Federal Constitution.

The Federal Constitution Article 43 (4) clearly states that ‘If the Prime Minister no longer has the trust of the majority of the members of the House of Representatives, then the Prime Minister shall resign the Cabinet unless at his request Parliament is dissolved by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’.

The Federal Constitution Article 43 (4) also clearly states that it only applies ‘If the Prime Minister no longer has the confidence of the majority of the members of the House of Representatives, he must resign the Cabinet unless at his request Parliament is dissolved by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’.

If the option is selected, then the provisions of Article 55 (4) will be used as a guide. According to the article: “When Parliament is dissolved, a general election shall be held within sixty days from the date it is dissolved and Parliament shall be called to meet on a date not later than one hundred and twenty days from that date”.

It is strongly recommended here, that if this solution is chosen, the contagion rate recorded by Sabah today will be repeated in every corner of the country.

What happened in Sabah – from the nomination of candidates on September 12 until the results were announced and the early days of the GRS victory – everything needs to be scrutinized and used as a lesson so that such mistakes do not happen again.

Furthermore, Election Commission (EC) Chairman Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh also admitted that the general election (GE) or state is not suitable to be held when the country is facing the COVID-19 threat. According to him, based on the EC’s experience in managing the election when COVID-19 spread, it was not easy to control the activities of the people’s assembly when it took place.

According to him, based on the EC’s experience in managing the election when COVID-19 spread, it was not easy to control the activities of the people’s assembly when it took place.

He was also quoted as saying that, without a declaration of emergency, the by-election must be conducted within the stipulated period according to the Constitution.

Taking into account all this, it turns out that the best solution is to rely on Article 55 (2) of the Constitution. The article provides that only His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has the special power to call Parliament to sit, stop Parliament from sitting or dissolve Parliament immediately.

And for now, there is no better option than ‘suspending the parliamentary session’ until the transmission of this third wave is addressed.

The postponement of the parliamentary session will allow the government today, the Perikatan Nasional, to carry out their duties without any fuss.

Although never implemented before in the country’s history, the proviso of ‘suspending parliament’ has already been used in other commonwealth countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, Indian, Nepal and even Sri Lanka.

The government’s move to suspend Parliament also does not affect the Federal Constitution at all as it is implemented to ensure that the administration of the country is managed efficiently, to ensure the well-being of the people is protected.

If the country at that time is seen to be successful in overcoming this pandemic then automatically our previous democratic practices can be implemented again.

What is important for now is to curb the spread of pandemics. Since this is the first time we are faced with a pandemic, then such a historic move becomes an obligation that needs to be implemented.

Tan Sri SA Vigneswaran is the MIC President

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of The Leaders Online

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