A previous call has led to confused reactions in BN.
Umno today formally called on the Perikatan Nasional government, which it is part of, to lift the suspension on Parliament.
This came more than a month after Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (below) made the call in his capacity as BN chairperson, which led to confused reactions as his statement was highly similar to the statement issued by Pakatan Harapan on the same topic.
The BN secretariat later withdrew Zahid’s statement, claiming that it was a “mistake”.
The call by Umno today, however, was endorsed by the party’s supreme council.
Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan, in a statement, said the party supreme council decided to demand the government to allow Parliament and all state assemblies to reconvene.
He said this was in line with Yang Di-Pertuan Agong’s comment that the legislature can still convene even during the emergency, which came into force on Jan 11.
The Agong had said this was possible if Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin advised him to reconvene Parliament but his government is refusing to do so.
“The government cannot be seen to be emasculating parliamentary democracy.
“Parliament and the state assemblies are where elected representatives conduct checks and balances to ensure the government does not act on a whim at the expense of the people’s welfare,” Ahmad said.
More so at a time when the people are struggling due to economic conditions, unemployment and the rising price of goods, he added.
Ahmad said there must be accountability in the way the government spends public funds.
He noted that the government had invoked emergency powers to dip into the National Trust Fund to purchase vaccines.
Prior to that, the government had also invoked emergency powers to spend from the consolidated fund and come up with supplementary budgets without Parliament’s approval.
“Investor confidence will continue to be eroded if parliamentary democracy is suspended that there is no longer good governance and checks and balances on the government,” Ahmad said.
He added that standard operating procedures (SOP) should be set to allow Parliament to convene like democracies across the world.