Can Muhyiddin explain why Parliaments in other countries can function in a state of emergency caused by the Covid-19 pandemic but not in Malaysia?

In his New Year Message, the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin listed five priorities for the year 2021 in an integrated national recovery strategy post Covid-19.

But in less than two weeks, these five priorities cannot stand public scrutiny, in particular Priority Three to “ensure political stability with strong emphasis on good governance as a foundation for sustainable economic recovery” and Priority Four to “uphold the country’s sovereignty and strengthen Malaysia’s position on the world stage”.

We were once some 50 positions behind China, the country where the pandemic started and which had a population 40 times that of Malaysia in cumulative total of Covid-19 cases, but we overtook China on December 16, 2020 in the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia, and with uncontrolled surges of Covid-19 cases in Malaysia, have left China far behind as we are now ranked No. 68 while China is ranked No. 82 among countries in the world with most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases.

We have overtaken Myanmar and if we continue to have a daily increase of 3,000 cases, we will make a triple jump some time today and be ranked No. 65 among countries with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases.

Where is “political stability” and “good governance” when Parliament and the State Assemblies have to be suspended?

Is this what Muhyiddin meant by his Priority Four “to strengthen Malaysia’s position on the world stage”?

Can Muhyiddin explain why Parliaments in other countries can function in a state of emergency caused by the Covid-19 pandemic but not in Malaysia?

This is why Muhyiddin should not pile more infamy on Malaysia by suspending the legislative and scrutiny function of Parliament and the State Assemblies, particularly when the war against the Covid-19 pandemic cannot be won unless there is an “all-of-government” and “whole-of-society” strategy and approach.

It is heartening that the Health Director-General Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah revealed yesterday that the Health Ministry is currently in talks with private healthcare providers and looking at working together with them to increase Malaysia’s healthcare system capacity, presently stretched to breaking point.

This should have been done right at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic many months back but it is better late than never.

This is actually one serious cause why the country lacks the “all-of-government” and “whole-of-society” strategy and the country has a long way to go before we can claim that we are having an “all-of-government” and “whole-of-society” strategy to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In fact, the Health Ministry should not only enlist the co-operation of private healthcare providers in the war against the Covid-19 pandemic, only in accepting non-Covid cases from government hospitals, but also in working out a long-term Covid-19 plan to avoid another MCO at all costs.

Penang State Exco for Housing, Local Government and Country Planning Jagdeep Singh Deo has said that about 100 private clinics under the Penang Medical Practitioners’ Society (PMPS) are ready to offer free Covid-19 vaccination services to the people of Penang.

The Ministry of Health should have a long-term plan which includes mobilising all private practitioners in the country in the war against Covid-19 pandemic.

When can the government overcome this blackmark and have in place an “all-of-government” and “whole-of-society” strategy and approach to the war against the Covid-19 epidemic

The second black mark to Muhyiddin’s Priority Four is the Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2021 released yesterday. It said human rights in Malaysia deteriorated under the Perikatan Nasional government, which aggressively cracked down on freedom of speech and peaceful assembly as well as made attacks on the media.

Is the Cabinet prepared to answer all these allegations of human rights violations by the Human Rights Watch Report, in particular with reference to the cases of South China Morning Post correspondent Tashny Sukumaran, CodeBlue editor Boo Su-Lyn as well as the contempt proceeding against Malaysiakini editor-in-chief Steven Gan.

Will the third black mark be delivered when Transparency International (TI) releases its 2020 TI Corruption Perception Index (CPI) after Malaysia had achieved its best performance in 25 years in the TI CPI 2019 Report, which had a single-year improvement of six points for TI CPI score of 53 and 10 placings for TI CPI ranking of 51?

There have been other blackmarks in the recent times – like the report that Vietnam would surpass Malaysia to become the 4th largest economy in Southeast Asia and the second Bloomberg Covid Resilience Ranking released on Dec. 21 last year, where Malaysia lost out to New Zealand, Taiwan, Australia, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Thailand and Bangladesh.

Will Malaysia get a better report in the January 2021 Bloomberg Resilience Index?

It must be the task of all political parties and all Members of Parliament to “strengthen Malaysia’s position on the world stage” and this should be the unifying theme in Parliament, which should not be suspended.

But is Muhyiddin prepared to announce that the emergency declared solely to fight the Covid-19 pandemic will not suspend Parliament and the State Assemblies so as to demonstrate that there is political stability and good governance in Malaysia?

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri