Allow MPs to debate King’s speech, says Shafie

Chief Minister Shafie Apdal (right) hands over Hari Raya goodies to a representative of the frontliners in Kota Kinabalu today.

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal has joined others, including Dr Mahathir Mohamad, in questioning the decision to only allow the royal address by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong at the one-day sitting of Parliament on Monday.

Shafie said MPs should be given a chance to debate the King’s speech, adding that this will subsequently inform the public in detail the current situation regarding the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It’s important to listen to the royal address but, at the same time, it’s equally important for us to know what the country is facing, where we are heading and how we can resolve the problems.

“There must be some questions that will be posed by MPs who represent people in their areas. In this way, they will be able to enlighten them on the situation the country is facing,” he said after presenting Hari Raya goodies to frontliners at his office here today.

Yesterday, it was reported that the royal address will be the only agenda during the sitting.

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusoff said he was informed of the changes by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

Mahathir questioned the decision, saying it was an attempt to prevent him from speaking. The Langkawi MP said inability to debate the speech meant it did not fulfil the rules of the Dewan Rakyat.

He said he had planned to explain the reasons behind his proposed no-confidence motion against Muhyiddin when Parliament convened.

Shafie said, however, it was an MP’s responsibility to attend the sitting.

“What’s important is that we have made our stand … Tun Mahathir, myself, (PKR president) Anwar Ibrahim and other Pakatan Harapan members have requested the speaker to extend the sitting by a few days.

“The Dewan Rakyat is an honourable house, it cannot be just fulfilling the condition to convene once in six months,” the Semporna MP added.

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