25 Oct For any MPs to agree to support the Supply and Confidence bill, there must be no Emergency Order. Period.
25 October 2020
Before even engaging in the discussion of whether MPs should or should not support the SuppIy and Confidence Bill, we have to categorically NOT support an emergency order at any time or circumstances. Such an action only goes to show a desperate PN government who has lost its mandate but is still relentless to hold onto their powers.
Writings are on the wall. An emergency order will only kill our economy, subvert democracy and pave way for corruption and unfettered abuse of powers by elites as we have witness when the Emergency Ordinance was implemented.
The present call for Emergency is made on very flimsy grounds of health and economic crisis. We have been dealing with the covid-19 pandemic since March and we have been doing well in controlling the spread. PN government itself had wallowed in boasting daily of their success. So what has changed? We can continue to do so as the Health Ministry and the government have all the resources available that can be mobilised to deal with the pandemic. Calling an emergency will never help the economy as it will immediately drive away investors, domestic industries and agricultural sectors will suffer, the poor and marginalised who depends on their EPF, SOCSO, or other savings and investments will see their income sources diminishing. How will an emergency help them?
Besides, for the PN to call for a support from all MPs for the supply and confidence bill, it will become an academic exercise if emergency is declared. The question that still looms large is: can Parliament still continue under Emergency rule? If No, then it ends the discussion. If Yes and Parliament can continue with its sessions, then why have an Emergency Order?
The idea of all MPs, regardless of their political affiliations, supporting the Supply and Confidence bill is an interesting approach for all parties to work together for the nation but it cannot be a blanket support for the Bill. I will only support the idea if some ground rules are considered, and they are as follows :
The PN government cannot have the cake and eat it. They must not feel that this is their way to bulldoze their budget and policy actions as what they had done in the still to be gazetted Supplementary Covid-19 budget.
In the interest of parliamentary democracy, the S & C Bill must be presented to all MPs for their scrutiny two weeks’ before the debate and not be presented on Friday, 6 November and expect MPs to debate on the following Monday;
A Special Bi-partisan committee, which includes the government, opposition and independants, be set up to discuss and provide the feedback from the MPs.
MPs must be allowed to make adjustment to the Bill with concrete suggestions. The PN government in particular has to be open to suggestions and compromises. This committee must be allowed to continue through to 2021 to monitor the implementation so that the principle of “No one will be left behind” becomes a reality
Questions needs to be answered such as:
• will there be greater efforts and funds allocated to strengthen Parliamentary Democracy such as select committees be expanded and funds allocated to cover Defence, environment and sustainable development, Finance, Entrepreneur development, inter-state relationships, and other key national issues with the aim to strengthen and monitor the progress of the Ministers and to ensure their implementation are on track with the budget 2021.
• Will national funds via Khazanah or other statutory institutions be used to save lame ducks such as the bailout of UEM-Sunrise and Eco World merger?
• Can we bring back the Parliament Services Act to allow more independence of the August House to request for more fund allocation, control over its funds and administration without political influences?
• Have equal development allocations for all MPs to service their constituencies with strict adherence to good governance principles and reporting.
Before we can discuss MPs’ support for the Supply and Confidence bill, there must be no Emergency Order. Period.
Maria Chin Abdullah
MP Petaling Jaya