With our MSC background, Malaysian Parliament should be one of the first Parliaments in the world to have virtual parliamentary meetings except that the PN government wants to exploit the Covid-19 Pandemic to lockdown parliamentary oversight and scrutiny!
With our Multimedia Super-Corridor (MSC) background, Malaysian Parliament should be one of the first Parliaments in the world to have virtual parliamentary meetings except that the Perikatan Nasional government wants to exploit the Covid-19 Pandemic to lockdown Parliament and suspend parliamentary oversight and scrutiny!
In fact, a survey of Parliaments world-wide will show that Malaysia is the only country whose Parliament is locked down and where there is no parliamentary oversight or scrutiny during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In most countries, their Parliaments continue working to provide parliamentary oversight and scrutiny of government responses to the epidemiological and socio-economic situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, and several Parliaments even set up special parliamentary Select Committees on the Covid-19 pandemic.
For instance, the House of Commons in Canada set up a Special Committee on Covid-19 Pandemic on 20th April which will meet by videoconferencing twice a week.
The New Zealand Parliament established the Epidemic Response Committee with government and opposition MPs to scrutinize government actions, while in the House of Commons in London, several Parliamentary Select Committees had held online inquiries into various aspects of government measures in the Covid-19 pandemic, ranging from how social distancing and lockdown conditions create new vulnerabilities for women and children living in abusive circumstances to human rights implications of the government’s overall response to the coronavirus crisis.
This is why the suggestion by several analysts and academicians for use of online platforms, like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Web Meetings and Google Meet, to conduct a full parliamentary meeting instead of having a ridiculous one-day sitting of Parliament on May 18 is unlikely to be given serious attention.
It is not that Malaysia does not have the information technology, but what is lacking is the political will of the PN government to ensure a robust parliamentary oversight and scrutiny during the Covid-19 pandemic to prevent abuses of power, rampant corruption, revival of kleptocracy and widespread violation of human rights from rearing their ugly heads.