The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) has suggested on May 6 (https://www.bersih.org/press-release-from-bersih-2-0-6-may-2020-parliament-sitting-is-not-only-possible/) that parliament sitting can be held virtually to fight Covid-19 pandemic while not obstructing the operation of parliamentary democracy, however this suggestion has not been taken up by the government. Bersih 2.0 therefore offers itself to organise a Shadow Virtual Parliamentary Sitting of three days for parliamentarians to debate the Royal Address this morning and pass a motion of thanks to His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
Bersih 2.0 invites the ruling and opposition parties to discuss the Shadow Virtual Parliamentary Sitting in detail if they really want to debate the Royal Address, which is actually the Government’s message. In 2019, the Royal Address was debated for 12 days and more than 100 parliamentarians took part.
Bersih 2.0 proposes that the Shadow Virtual Parliamentary Sitting to take place for three days from 19 May (Tuesday) to 21 May (Thursday) and be chaired by Deputy Speaker YB Nga Kor Ming or any other parliamentarian who has a good understanding of the Standing Orders. The Virtual Parliamentary Sitting will be participated by parliamentarians only but aired live on Bersih 2.0’s Facebook and YouTube.
Bersih 2.0 believes, with the Shadow Virtual Parliamentary Sitting, notwithstanding that it has no official status, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s plot to block parliamentarians from debating the Royal Address and thanking His Majesty on the excuse of Covid-19 would be exposed before Malaysians who follow the sitting on Bersih 2.0’s Facebook and Youtube.
The year 2020 is not 1349, when the English Parliament was last closed because of a plague (http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/middle_ages/black_01.shtml) Today, the UK Parliament adopts hybrid proceedings where up to 50 MPs are allowed to take part physically in the House and 120 others are to join virtually. (https://qz.com/1841417/coronavirus-forces-uk-mps-to-use-zoom-in-virtual-parliament/) Virtual parliament in various forms are also happening in the EU (https://euobserver.com/coronavirus/147820) and South Africa. (https://www.gov.za/speeches/parliament-resumes-business-through-virtual-meetings-during-coronavirus-covid-19-lockdown)
Bersih 2.0 has made technical preparations and with great hopes await a positive response from political parties to start a new chapter in Malaysia’s parliamentary democracy where technology trumps betrayal.
Steering Committee of Bersih 2.0