After months of ignoring calls from the public to reconvene Parliament, Perikatan Nasional (PN) has finally agreed to an abridged Parliament sitting which will only be held for 5 days, starting July 26.
However the Deputy Speaker has not given valid justification for why all 222 MPs would not be allowed to attend the seating and has now come under fire for his proposal.
The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0), Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), ENGAGE and Bait al-Amanah said such an excuse was not reasonable.
Simply put, limiting the MPs are solely based on the fact that the same thing was done last year during the pandemic. It made sense then as the MPs were yet to be vaccinated.
All MPs should be given a chance to debate in length and raise as many questions as possible as Parliament has been suspended for 7 months.
DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang has also weighed in on the matter saying “I do not know why the Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Rashid Hasnon is talking about Parliament limiting the number of MPs at reach sitting to 80, when all MPs and parliamentary staff have been vaccinated.”
Kit Siang also raised the issue of Muhyiddin congregating with a crowd of 300 for a prayer session in Kuala Lumpur recently.
“The full capacity for MPs is 220 and it would be a fantastic stretch of the imagination if 220 is more than 300, especially as all MPs and parliamentary staff have been vaccinated.”Kit Siang said in a statement released today.
Muhyiddin has come under fire from netizens for performing the Aidiladha prayers at the National Mosque while other Malaysians have been fined for even visiting grave sites of their loved ones during the religious festival.
It perplexes many especially those in the opposition why the government has been so hesitant to reconvene a proper and thorough Parliamentary sitting.
Last year, the Perikatan Nasional government was mocked for not being able to implement virtual parliament while poorer countries with less resources like Namibia were able to do so.
Kit Siang also asserted that PN should engage the Health Emergency Action Plan (HEAP) as the “Roadmap to Recovery from Covid-19”
The concent of HEAP which was put forth by Dr Amar Singh-HSS, Dr Khor Swee Kheng, Prof Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman and Dr Zainal Ariffin Omar has been endorsed by 20 medical associations.
HEAP is based on three guiding principles:
1. Trust is crucial to fighting the pandemic and this is based on transparency
2. There must be an all-of-society approach
3. And we need a set of solutions that are not lockdown-based.
The key recommendations from HEAP start off with ramping up testing and vaccination efforts, including genome testing to monitor Covid-19 variants.
It also touches on increasing support to hospitals including staff, ventilators and ICU accommodation and ensuring that Malaysians have full access to data transparency for all metrics used to monitor the pandemic.
The importance of strong leadership and new simple SOPs that are science were also mentioned.
The worst of the Covid-19 pandemic is yet to come. We must engage and debate a new strategy in Parliament now if we are going to survive this global threat.
With proper SOPs implemented there should be no reason why all 222 MPs cannot be included in the upcoming Parliament sitting.