Malaysia Dateline

Suspension of Parliament not science-based but politics-based decisions

The Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is considering lifting travel restrictions for those who have completed their Covid-19 vaccination and have been issued a digital certificate proving this.

The Prime Minister is on the right track but all Malaysians are asking why the Prime Minister is not considering convening Parliament and the State Assemblies to mobilise the whole country in a national mobilisation effort for an “all-of-government” and “whole-of-society” strategy and approach in the war against Covid-19 pandemic to bring the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia – one of the longest Covid-19 waves in the world – under control?

In the last three days, the daily increase of new Covid-19 cases have returned to four-digit figures. i.e. 1178, 1483 and 1133 cases, after falling to triple-digit figure for the first time in nearly four months when it registered 941 new cases on March 29.

This shows it would take some time before the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, which started last September because of the Sabah state general election, could be brought under control.

Two questions are relevant here:

  • Firstly, whether Malaysia could breach the triple-digit figure to fall to double-digit figure in April itself; and
  • Secondly, whether Malaysia can prevent the upsurge of a fourth wave before bringing the third Covid wave fully under control.

The East Asia and Pacific region is one of the few global bright spots in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic unlike the disastrous performance of United States and the European nations, and such a success provides many lessons on containing infectious diseases at a low cost to the economy in an era of chronic pandemics.

One of the exceptions is Malaysia as we have performed dismally compared to many countries in the region.

The latest monthly report of the Bloomberg Covid Resilience Ranking on March 25 again showed Malaysia as trailing behind Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, China, Japan, Thailand, Hong Kong and Vietnam in our performance as a nation in the war against the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Emergency Proclamation and the suspension of Parliament are decisions which are not science-based but politics-based purportedly to combat Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia, and this is why the Muhyiddin government should show greater respect to science-based measures instead of ignoring them and banking on politics-based decisions.

How, for instance, can the Muhyiddin government justify the lifting of travel restrictions and the holding of pasar malam when Parliament and the State Assemblies could not meet to discharge their constitutional duty of oversight over the
Executive, whether national or state?

I am not suggesting that the government should not lift travel restrictions as justified by new circumstances or clamp down on pasar malam, but that the government should abandon politics-based decisions like the suspension of Parliament and the State Assemblies.

The Penang Chief Minister, Chow Kon Yeow, has rightly asked the Prime Minister to allow the Penang State Assembly to be convened. What science-based arguments can the Prime Minister give for a negative answer?

This is also the reason why the national Covid-19 vaccination programme should be accelerated as it is in the personal and national interests of every Malaysian to end the Covid-19 pandemic as soon as possible so that normal life and economic recovery efforts could be initiated.

I will be receiving my second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine next Tuesday and I want to urge all Malaysians to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

I have suggested that the national Covid-19 vaccination campaign should be accelerated so that it could be completed by Malaysia Day on Sept. 16, so that efforts for full normality and economic recovery could be initiated in the fourth quarter of the year.

Is this suggestion being seriously looked into?

If Parliament and parliamentary committees on public health could function normally, then these issues could be publicly ventilated forming public pressures on the Muhyiddin government to give proper responses.
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Media conference statement at the Iskandar Puteri Covid Vaccination Registration Counter at Gelang Patah on Friday, April 2, 29, 2021.