#kerajaangagal170: A full plate for the Cabinet – four things it should decide tomorrow

Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker Mohd Rashid Hasnon has confirmed that while a Prime Minister’s Office statement dated 5th July 2021 said that the government has agreed that Parliament would meet for five days from July 26 and the Dewan Negara for three days from August 3, Members of Parliament have not yet received notice from Parliament for such a Parliamentary meeting.

Rashid said that a formal notice from the Cabinet was still pending and that MPs would be informed of the Parliamentary meeting once there is notice from the Cabinet.

This means that the Prime Minister’s Office statement of July 5 was made without Cabinet approval and that the convening of Parliament had not been officially decided by the Cabinet nor was it formalised when it met last Wednesday on July 7, 2021.

The Cabinet meeting tomorrow will be the last Cabinet meeting but one if Parliament is to be convened on Monday, July 26, and MPs should receive formal notice of the parliamentary meeting tomorrow or latest by Thursday if competence and efficiency mean anything to the Cabinet and Parliament.

The Cabinet has a full plate tomorrow but there are at least three things it should decide tomorrow apart from the convening of Parliament on July 26, 2021, viz:

1. The ending of the emergency on August 1, 2021 as it is a dismal failure and wrong strategy to fight the war against the Covid-19 pandemic.

2. An apology to the nation for the failure of the government strategy and approach in the war against the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in the last six months of the emergency, causing a toll of 6,260 deaths and unprecedented high number of suicides, and which is supported by three international surveys, namely:

  1. June 2021 Bloomberg Covid Resilience Ranking with Malaysia falling 35 places from its 16th ranking in January 2021 to 51st position in June 2021 edition out of 53 economies of more than US$200 billion;
  2. Economist’s global normalcy index which placed Malaysia in the last 50th position out 50 countries; and
  3. Nikkei Covid-19 Recovery Index on 7th July which ranks Malaysia No. 114 out of 120 countries on infection management, vaccine rollouts and social mobility.

3. Authorise the drafting of a new strategy to replace the National Recovery Plan to win the invisible but lethal war against Covid-19 pandemic with for main objectives:

  1. Remove Malaysia as one of the world’s worst performing nations in the Covid-19 pandemic. Malaysia overtook in less than eight months over 50 countries having the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases – falling from 85th rank in November last year to 33rd rank today. We will overtake Israel to be ranked No. 32 today. From the present rate of Covid-19 infection, Malaysia will be ranked among the 30 worst countries in the world in the Covid-19 pandemic and will have more than a million Covid-19 cases and over 10,000 Covid-19 deaths when we celebrate our 64th National Day on August 31. Previous worst-performing nations like China, United States, India, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Turkey and Iran have turned the corner and seen light at the end of the tunnel, considerably reduced their Covid-19 cases (India fell by 93%, US by 97% and China by 99.8% from their respective peaks) and Covid-19 deaths (India fell by 90%, US by 98% and China by 99% from their respective peaks), while Malaysia has just set new daily peaks of 9,353 cases and 135 deaths in the current fifth wave in Malaysia.
  2. Break away from the present strategy of blind faith in lockdowns to save lives and livelihoods, especially with the growing international view that the new coronavirus cannot be eliminated and human beings and nations must learn to live with it – turning a pandemic into an endemic.
  3. Take cognisance of the great damage to the economy by the present strategy illustrated by the concerns expressed by Malaysian and international especially the Japanese, German and Dutch business communities;
  4. Take cognisance of the public health system at breaking-point, with a video on the dire state of the healthcare system in the Klang Valley which has gone viral; and
  5. Authorising the drafting of a new strategy and approach which is “all-of-government” and “whole-of-society” to replace the National Recovery Plan; and
  6. Immediately inviting all parliamentary parties, including the Opposition parties, to the drafting of the new strategy in the war against Covid-19 pandemic and presenting the new strategy for endorsement when Parliament reconvenes on July 26.

Is the Cabinet up to the challenges of the times?

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri