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KUCHING, Feb 25: Following the availability of vaccines against Covid-19, there is no excuse for parliament not to convene and the general election may also proceed with strict standard operating procedures (SOP).
This is the view of Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing who expressed relief following the King’s recent statement that Parliament may convene during the emergency.
“The possible reconvening of parliament during the emergency is a return to democracy! It also means that the general election could also take place.
“However, in our excitement on the return of democratic principles, we must not forget why emergency was declared in the first place. It was to contain the spread and menace posed by Covid-19,” said Masing who is also Deputy Chief Minister in a statement today.
Masing said this in response to the recent statement of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah that Parliament may convene during the emergency period on a date deemed appropriate by His Majesty based on the advice of the prime minister.
Comptroller of the Royal Household of Istana Negara Datuk Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin said the matter was enshrined in subparagraph 14(19 (b) of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021, according to Bernama’s report.
In view of this, he said the perception by some quarters that the Emergency proclamation is preventing Parliament from sitting is inaccurate.
“It must be stressed that His Majesty’s consent to the advice of the prime minister on the declaration of the Emergency Proclamation on Jan 12, 2021, is merely a proactive measure to contain the Covid-19 pandemic that has so far claimed over 1,000 lives,” said Ahmad Fadil in a recent statement.
Despite the availability of vaccines and in view that the emergency was declared to combat the spread of Covid-19, Masing cautioned that strict standard operating procedure (SOP) must continue to be observed if parliament were to convene or general election were to be held.
“If parliament is to convene and the general election is to be held, during an emergency, strict health SOP must be adhered to by political parties, and EC’s (the Election Commission) rulings must be strictly enforced during elections in order to prevent the spread and menace of Covid19.
“If political parties can follow the advice and instructions by MOH (the Health Ministry) and EC, there is no reason why parliament cant convene and general election can’t take place especially now that vaccination is available,” said Masing. -DayakDaily