Monday, June 21, 2021

Govt considering hybrid system for parliamentary sitting

Law minister Takiyuddin Hassan says this would involve a combination of physical and virtual attendance by lawmakers.

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The government is looking into a hybrid system for Parliament proceedings involving a combination of physical and virtual attendance by lawmakers, law minister Takiyuddin Hassan said today.

In a statement, he said he had held a meeting with the speakers of the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara, as well as their deputies, in order to discuss the issue.

“Today’s meeting agreed on a basic level with the plan for a hybrid parliament,” he said.

“The meeting also agreed that more detailed studies should be done at once to prepare a report to be presented as soon as possible for the deliberation and approval of the Cabinet.”

He added that the step had been taken to ensure that Parliament could play its role despite the country facing the Covid-19 crisis.

The possibility of a virtual parliament sitting was recently raised by Azalina Othman Said, the deputy speaker of the Dewan Rakyat.

In a statement on May 27, she had questioned the prolonged suspension of parliamentary sittings due to the state of emergency declared in January and made several recommendations to facilitate the virtual convening of Dewan Rakyat, saying the pandemic was for the long run.

Opposition politicians from Pakatan Harapan have initiated legal proceedings against the government, seeking declarations that the emergency was unconstitutional.

In April meanwhile, several opposition MPs joined hands with six NGOs to seek a court declaration on the roles of Parliament and the judiciary, including to state whether the cancellation of parliamentary meetings could be challenged in court.

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