Dato Harun Idris’ suggesting to postpone reconvening of Parliament and State Assemblies
We are shocked by Dato Harun bin Idris’ suggestion (Utusan Melayu 9.1.71) that the reconvening of Parliemant on February 22 and the resummoning of the State Assemblies should be postponed indefinitely because of the present national flood situation.
The reason given by Dato Harun is that this will allow all national and state authorities to concentrate their energies in the relief and rehabilitation work of the flood victims.
The DAP cannot support such a suggestion. Parliament is not a luxury, but a necessity for a multi-racial nation like Malaysia. Its greatest use is not during time of peace, calm and prosperity, but during a time of stress and crisis.
For during a national crisis, Parliament can symbolise the unity, solidarity and determination of the people and country to overcome the crisis.
In view of the national flood calamity, there is even more reason for the timely reconvening of Parliament and the State Assemblies.
The national flood calamity has caused terrible hardships and sufferings to hundreds of thousands of people in Kelantan, Trengganu, Perak, Pahang, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Malacca and Johore, destroying all their personal belongings and even their means of livelihood.
The biggest task today is therefore the relief and rehabilitation of these hundreds of thousands of flood victims.
In this gigantic work of relief and rehabilitation, there are bound to be large areas of government oversight, and in both urban and rural areas, many aspects where the people’s problems, hardships, miseries and sufferings not looked into or adequately attended to.
Only in Parliament and the State Assemblies can such grievances, shortcomings, inadequacies of the gigantic relief and rehabilitation programme that must now be embarked on be raised for rectification, and the relief and rehabilitation programme reviewed an improved.
The important task of preventing a recurrence of such a flood calamity, and to find out how we allow our flood control defences to fail so miserably, are best discussed at the national forum in Parliament.
It has always been the DAP view that the suspension of Parliament in the wake of May 13, 1969 had always been a colossal mistake, which shattered what little confidence the people retained in the government.
Parliament, as I had said, is most useful in a time of national crisis. For instance, if following the outbreak of May 13 riots, Parliament had been immediately reconvened, and all the newly MPs took a common pledge to urge the people to work for racial peace and harmony, and to urge the people to refrain from violence, I am sure such a demonstration of unity of all the newly MPs would have a great effect in dampening the fires of racialism and brought the country immediately back to the track of democracy and multi-racial confidence in the country.
Parliament was nearly destroyed by fire! Let it not now be drowned in water.