Opposition MPs demands Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for answers regarding the National Recovery Plan (NRP) that he tabled in Parliament this morning.
However, this caused a commotion in the Parliamentary as the PM was absent and made Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz respond on behalf of the prime minister in which the Opposition MPs were displeased.
According to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the leader of Pakatan Harapan (PH), Muhyiddin was the first prime minister to have ever failed to be present on winding up a crucial government policy since Merdeka which he called as an affront to Parliament.
Anwar said that the issues raised regarding the Covid-19 as well as the NRP must be answered by the prime minister himself or by the deputy prime minister at least.
He added that this matter is about the principle of respecting Parliament and asked the Speaker to intervene. He said that it is not the something the finance minister could do in behalf of the prime minister as it was not his field of expertise and should not be pushed off like this.
Muhyiddin then held a briefing on the National Recovery Plan and provided an explanation about the response of the government towards the Covid-19 crisis the country is facing. This drew heat from Opposition MPs and called for the Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun to open up the floor for debate.
This proceeding was the first among the five days of special meetings to be held after seven months since the Emergency.
The Opposition MPs have expressed the ill-feeling they had over the PM’s absence and said that they had waited for this moment to demand an explanation as to how Muhyiddin had dealt with the public health crisis.
Anwar has criticized the Lower House speaker for allowing the Prime Minister to disrespect the Parliament by missing out on the meeting and avoiding getting questioned regarding the Covid-19 crisis.
Anwar claimed that in the history of the Parliament, never before has the finance minister answered the questions for the prime minister and explained the matters of the Emergency. He added that the Speaker must have courage and not allow the prime minister to make a mockery of the Parliament, because if he does, he said he would hold the Speaker responsible.
Azhar responded to the criticism by merely muting the microphones of MPs who spoke at the time. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who was also present at the time, later explained that Tengku Zafrul was winding up as the coordinating minister appointed to oversee the NRP.