Parliament should not be quarantined as it must spearhead a campaign of trust, solidarity and unity to mobilise national support transcending race, religion or politics to win the invisible war against Covid-19 virus
Parliament should not be quarantined as it must spearhead a campaign of trust, solidarity and unity to mobilise national support transcending race, religion or politics in the invisible war against Covid-19 virus.
This is why I am asking the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to reconsider and convene an emergency meeting of Parliament as an important strategy to fight and win the invisible war against Covid-19.
An emergency Parliament will have the important tasks of strengthening Malaysia’s public health infrastructure to protect frontliners and ramp up Covid-19 testing, tracing and treating capabilities, formulate programmes to look after vulnerable groups and sectors and prepare for an exit strategy for the movement control order (MCO).
Malaysia must not be the only instance in the world where Parliament is ignored, marginalised or quarantined as Parliaments in countries which are the epicentres of the Covid-19 pandemic continue in session, like the United States, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, United Kingdom and even Turkey, to deliberate on the best strategies to fight the coronavirus outbreak.
At present, five countries have surpassed China in the total number of Covid-19 cases, viz:
- United States 529,484 cases
- Spain 163,027 cases
- Italy 152,271 cases
- France 129,654 cases
- Germany 124,908 cases
- China 81,953 cases
Seven countries led by United States, Spain, Italy and France, and joined by United Kindom, Iran and Belgium have surpassed China in total Covid-19 death toll, viz:
- United States 20,469 deaths
- Italy 19,468 deaths
- Spain 16,606 deaths
- France 13,832 deaths
- United Kingdom 9,875 deaths
- Iran 4,357 deaths
- Belgium 3,346 deaths
- China 3,339 deaths
With its present rate of increase of confirmed Covid-19 cases, United Kingdom should surpass China in the total number of Covid-19 cases in a day or two. It recorded an increase of 5,233 cases in the past 24 hours.
Parliaments of most the countries which are the epicentres of the Covid-19 pandemic, like United States, Spain, Italy, France, United Kingdom, Germany and even Turkey which ranks as the top ninth country with the most number of confirmed Covid-19 cases (52,167 cases with 1,101 deaths) are performing their duties, to debate not only the best strategies for their country in the Covid-19 pandemic, but also how nations and the world are to pick themselves up after the catastrophic pandemic and lock downs.
Why is the Malaysian Parliament an exception? Why is the Malaysian Parliament being sidelined when the country is facing an unprecedented Covid-19 crisis?
There are no provisions in the Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders for the requisitioning of an emergency Parliament by Members of Parliament or it would have been invoked.
If Parliament is allowed to play its full and proper role in the unprecedented Covid-19 crisis, it would spare the country farces like the “warm water”, Doraemon, Menteri, tik tok and “abused housewife” episodes, which is now added the “hair dresser” relief.
This must be the first time anywhere in the world where a proposal for the loosening of restrictions in a partial or full lockdown by the authorities as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic is being opposed not only by the general public, but by the very people who are supposed to be the beneficiaries.
Even the barber and hairstylist associations themselves oppose the proposal of barber shops and hair salons being able to operate during the third phase of the movement control order (MCO), giving rise to some very creative videos on the social media.
Is this because some Minister wants to visit a barber or hair salon?
Instead of giving consideration and priority to IT support and services as requested by the National Tech Association of Malaysia (Pikom), we have the cock-eyed notion to make barbers an essential service.
Nothing can equal this barber/hair salon episode to highlight the great gulf between the Ministerial class and the ordinary people, and why this gulf must be bridged with proper and extensive consultation between the government and civil society and why an emergency meeting of Parliament should be convened without any delay so that Malaysia can win the invisible war against Covid-19 outbreak.