Why is Muhyiddin afraid to convene a special Parliament on Covid-19 when Malaysia has handled the Covid-19 crisis better than UK, which has 133,495 Covid-19 confirmed cases and 18,100 deaths - 24 times more cases and 195 times more deaths than in Malaysia – when the House of Commons had a 100-minute ”virtual” meeting yesterday subjecting the UK government to scrutiny?

Although Malaysia has handled the Covid-19 crisis better than the United Kingdom, it is a crying shame that the UK Parliament met in a “virtual” meeting yesterday subjecting the British government to a 100-minute scrutiny of its handling of the Covid-19 crisis, but the Malaysian Parliament dared not convene a special meeting over the same issue.

Why is the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin so afraid to convene a special Parliament when Malaysia had handled the Covid-19 crisis better than UK, which has 133,495 Covid-19 confirmed cases and 18,100 deaths - 24 times more cases and 195 times more deaths than in Malaysia, with 5,532 cases and 93 deaths?

Is it because Malaysia is so technologically backward as to lose out even to Maldives, the smallest Asian country both by land area and population with 538,000 people, which became the first in the world to hold an online parliamentary session with 87 Members of Parliament during the Covid-19 pandemic?

Or is it because Malaysia is inherently undemocratic and not fit to have a system of parliamentary democracy as bequeathed by the nation’s founding fathers, based on the separation of powers, the rule of law and the Malaysian Constitution?

The UK House of Commons had its first official “virtual” meeting yesterday which included a 45-minute Prime Minister’s Question Time, a ten-minute Ministerial statement by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock and 45-minute question-and-answer question for Matt Hancock.

All the 100 minutes, the entire Prime Minister’s Question Time - which was conducted by the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Rabb as the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson was still recovering from Covid-19 infection - the Ministerial statement and the subsequent Q & A session, were focussed specifically on one subject – the Covid-19 pandemic.

The “virtual” House of Commons yesterday also marked the maiden appearance of the newly-elected British Leader of the Opposition, Keir Starmer, who tore into the government over coronavirus testing and personal protective equipment (PPE) failures.

An UK Member of Parliament questioned the Health and Social Care Secretary over the UK government “shambolic” handling of the Covid-19 crisis.

When Malaysia launched the movement control order (MCO) on 18th March, Malaysia had 790 cases with two deaths from Covid-19 while the United Kingdom had 2,626 cases and 104 deaths.

Five weeks later today, Malaysia’s total of Covid-19 cases increased seven times to 5,532 and the total death toll increased over 46 times to 93 deaths, while in the United Kingdom, both increased by astronomical rates - Covid-19 confirmed cases increased 50 times from 2,660 to 133,495 cases while the Covid-19 deaths increased 174 times from 104 deaths to 18,100 deaths.

It is pertinent to note that there is data to show that the true extent of UK’s Covid-19 death toll has been estimated to be 40 percent higher than the government's daily figures, putting the country on track to become the worst-hit in Europe.

In a parliamentary democracy which upholds the separation of powers and the rule of law, parliamentary scrutiny is basic and fundamental especially in an unprecedented crisis like the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is in a parliamentary scrutiny that the problems faced by the people in a Covid-19 crisis could be brought up and resolved, whether complaints that not all the healthcare frontliners are entitled to the special allowance between RM400 and RM600 per month as announced in the Prihatin stimulus package; the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the frontliners; discrimination in the distribution of food aid hampers especially for opposition-held constituencies; complaints of lack of food and information in enhanced MCO areas; shabby and unfair treatment of the MP for Batu, P. Prabakaran when he tried to raise the grievances of the residents in Taman Sri Murni in Selayang, an Enhanced MCO area; double standards in enforcing the MCO; the plight of vulnerable groups who were left behind in the Covid-19 pandemic, etc.

It is not too late for the Prime Minister to convene a special parliamentary meeting on the Covid-19 crisis before the end of April.

There continues to be both good and bad news on the international front with regard to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Yesterday, the global total of cases passed the 2.5 million mark. It has now reached 2,632,532, a daily increase of 76,772 cases, 1,535 times Malaysia’s latest daily increase of 50 cases!

Worldwide, 183,866 people have died because of Covid-19, as compared to 92 in Malaysia.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said there were "worrying upward trends" in early epidemics in parts of Africa and central and South America, warning that the "virus will be with us for a long time".

He said in a virtual briefing for journalists in Geneva: "Most countries are still in the early stages of their epidemics and some that were affected early in the pandemic are starting to see a resurgence in cases.”

Presently, the top 10 countries for the most number of Covid-19 confirmed cases are:

  1. United States 846,294 cases; 47,524 deaths ( 5.6%)
  2. Spain 208,389 cases; 21,717 deaths (10.4%)
  3. Italy 187,327 cases; 25,085 deaths (13.4%)
  4. France 159,877 cases; 21,340 deaths (13.3%)
  5. Germany 150,646 casers; 5,279 deaths ( 3.5%)
  6. UK 133,495 cases; 18,100 deaths (13.6%)
  7. Turkey 98,674 cases; 2.376 deaths ( 2.4%)
  8. Iran 85,996 cases; 5.391 deaths ( 6.3%)
  9. China 82,788 cases 4,632 deaths ( 5.6%)
  10. Russia 57,999 cases 513 deaths ( 0.9%)

In ASEAN, Singapore has become the top country in terms of number of Covid-19 cases: Singapore (10,141 cases, 12 deaths); Indonesia (7,418 cases, 635 deaths), Philippines (6,710 cases, 446 deaths); Malaysia (5,532 cases, 93 deaths) and Thailand (2,826 cases, 49 deaths).

The best news on the international front is that a Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Oxford University with enter human trials beginning today.

Scientists at Oxford have previously said the aim is to produce a million doses of the vaccine by September.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri