Tuesday, July 27, 2021

MPs’ pent-up frustrations spill out after long break from Parliament


MPs’ pent-up frustrations spill out after long break from Parliament: observers

PM, Dewan Rakyat speaker feel full force of verbal fury for blocking votes throughout 5-day sitting

Political observers say they expected the chaotic cacophony in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday, as MPs have been barred from attending regular sittings for months on end. – Bernama pic, July 27, 2021

KUALA LUMPUR – The fiery exchanges during the special sitting in Parliament yesterday are a culmination of pent-up frustrations of MPs, who were barred from attending regular sittings for months on end, said observers.

Both Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Seri Azhar Azizan Harun bore the brunt of verbal assaults by opposition members accusing them of having personal agendas in blocking votes throughout the five-day session.

That was why the opposition pulled no punches when the doors of the House opened yesterday, said observers.

Singapore Institute of International Affairs senior fellow Oh Ei Sun told The Vibes that the cacophony was expected for at least two reasons.

Firstly, there was an absence of a plenary session for more than half a year, during which the government “rammed through” a series of policies without normal legislative oversight, leading to the “justifiable” wrath of the parliamentarians.

The other involved the non-allowance of proper debates and votes on the future policies of the government, such as the recovery plan, which further stoked the dissatisfaction.

Political analyst Oh Ei Sun says the government is acting out of line by barring MPs from holding votes on the emergency proclamation. – File pic, July 27, 2021

Furthermore, absence the prime minister during the afternoon session irked opposition critics even more, as MPs were discussing major Covid-19 matters plaguing the country.

This anger was also compounded by the supposedly disingenuous opening speech made by the prime minister in the morning.

“Muhyiddin’s stunning act of merely going through lip motions in reading prepared texts and then taking off without answering relevant queries of MPs vividly exhibited, at the very least, telltale signs of the government being utterly uninterested in the opinions and inputs of elected representatives,” said Oh.

“The government is likely to continue with its increasingly authoritarian streak of ruling by essential decree and fiat.”

He noted that the government is acting out of line by barring parliamentarians from holding votes on the emergency proclamation.

“This is a worrying anti-democratic trend not only for this country, but for the whole Commonwealth, as the hitherto revered Westminster model is being ruthlessly chipped away by this government, thus creating dangerous precedents for other Commonwealth countries.”

Late yesterday evening, Pakatan Harapan’s legal task force accused the Dewan Rakyat speaker of abuse of power and being a government tool over the barring of votes and rejection of motions mooted by opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and another MP.

Azmi Hassan, a political observer from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, said Azhar’s status as a non-politician made him prone to attack from certain MPs.

“The speaker is facing the brunt (of the anger) of MPs for two reasons. The first is the perception that he sets the ground rules for the five-day special parliamentary sitting, which is not true.

“Secondly, Azhar is a party-less man, who has no colleague to back him up, which makes him a soft target.”

Political observer Azmi Hassan says MPs should do their homework before going to Parliament, following the ruckus yesterday. – File pic, July 27, 2021

Opposition MPs had vented out their frustrations against the speaker, especially during the first two hours of the session, as the latter was the one who “got the ball rolling” in opening the morning meeting, he added.

On Muhyiddin’s absence in the afternoon, Azmi said perhaps the leader had a “good reason”, but the crux of the meeting was to discuss the pandemic, especially the government’s recovery and exit plans.

Azmi said since Muhyiddin is spearheading the National Recovery Plan, it was “disheartening” to see him not present to listen to the comments, grouses or proposals raised on the government’s handling of the matter.

“Logically, the prime minister should be there; not only for the morning and afternoon sessions (yesterday), but also in the next four days as decisions need to be made.”

He also chastised the behaviour of the MPs who created a ruckus in Parliament yesterday.

“The arguments were not structured, so it was very hard to pinpoint the details of what is being spoken or brought forward by the MPs.

“It (an argument) needs to be structured so people can understand it, especially ordinary citizens listening to the debates.

“Hopefully, improvements can be made on this,” he said, adding that all MPs should “do their homework before going to Parliament”. – The Vibes, July 27, 2021

1 comment:

  1. It is really strange to have the PM leaving parliament without a "bye your leave".

    This, to me depicts Muhyiddin's disrespect of parliament and the Agong. This behaviour is simply to go through the motion to fulfill the wishes of the Agong and his brother rulers.

    That no reason or apology was given, really reflects on Muhyiddin himself