Kit Siang: Unless there’s convincing majority, ceasefire needed for Covid-19 war

The DAP leader backs Anwar as PM but said none has been able to prove a clear majority for over a year.

DAP’s Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang today called for a political ceasefire ahead of anticipated jostling for a parliamentary majority.

After the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government narrowly survived a budget test in the Dewan Rakyat in December last year, it staved off further challenges to its majority through a state of emergency, purportedly to combat Covid-19, which also suspended Parliament.

But the PN government’s fate is back under the spotlight as the emergency is set to expire in August and a group of Umno faction has also been rebelling within the PN administration, threatening its fragile majority.

However, Lim does not appear to want to go down that road amid the raging Covid-19 pandemic and has therefore called for a political moratorium.

He said the Conference of Rulers’ call for Parliament to reconvene as soon as possible should be an occasion to make a new start in the war against the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Let me declare my personal position. I support (opposition leader) Anwar Ibrahim to become the prime minister because I think he is most experienced, competent and qualified to be the leader of a plural Malaysia.

“But we have been in the midst of a constitutional impasse for more than a year, where no person had been able to command a clear majority in Parliament while the country is faced with an existential threat by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I believe Muhyiddin Yassin, with the fortuitous incident changing his name on official documents to Mahiaddin Md Yasin, also does not command any clear majority in Parliament,” he said in a statement.

Lim added that until someone can prove that they command a strong parliamentary majority, the focus should be on Covid-19 instead of engaging in the stalemate.

“Unless there is one person who can demonstrate clearly and convincingly outside Parliament this clear-cut parliamentary majority for him to become the prime minister, this issue must be subordinated to the existential threat of the pandemic.

“This new start for the nation has been provided by the Conference of Rulers’ special meeting yesterday and it should not be used by any political quarter to justify their position on the political situation in the country,” he said.

The DAP stalwart called on all sides to set aside their political differences and single-mindedly focus on Covid-19.

“I, therefore, propose a one-year political moratorium which can be extended to two years where there is only one national priority – to win the war against Covid-19 and to ensure that fatalities do not exceed 5,000 deaths,” he said.

He also reiterated his call for de facto Law Minister Takiyuddin Hassan not to stonewall the reconvening of Parliament.

Takiyuddin has insisted on a September-to-October timeline to reconvene Parliament even though the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had called for a sitting “as soon as possible”.

“I call for an emergency cabinet meeting to act on the decisions of the rulers’ special meeting yesterday so that Parliament can comply with the Dewan Rakyat standing orders and convene on July 19.

“Meanwhile, the various parliamentary select committees should be able to function effectively.

“In fact, there should be a reform and new vision of the role that can be played by Parliament and the various parliamentary select committees to win the war against the Covid-19 pandemic,” said the DAP lawmaker.


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