Muhyiddin should make a Ministerial statement in Parliament today on the effect of the Cabinet meeting on July 21 revoking six Emergency Ordinances

The Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, was remiss in his duties as head of the Executive when he failed to turn up in Parliament in the winding-up of his Ministerial statement yesterday, in particular to explain about the Cabinet meeting on July 21, 2021 which purportedly revoked six Emergency Ordinances but which information was kept from Parliament and the nation for five days.

When the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Parliament) Takiyuddin Hassan made the startling revelation yesterday about the Cabinet meeting on July 21 revoking six Emergency ordinances at the end of Muhyiddin’s Ministerial statement in Parliament, the Prime Minster was seen smiling and nodding his head in agreement while seated in his place.

I had after the Ministerial statement asked the Prime Minister to give a satisfactory explanation why he had misled Parliament and the nation for five days about the revocation of the Emergency Ordinances by the Cabinet on 21st July, as even the Parliament Speaker was not aware of it or this would be the proper explanation by the Speaker for rejecting the motions of DAP MP for Bruas, Ngeh Koo Ham, to annul the Emergency Ordinances as events have overtaken with the revocation of the Emergency Ordinances.

I also said that if the Prime Minister was unable to give any satisfactory explanation, then he should be referred to the Committee of Privileges for misleading Parliament.

But Muhyiddin was not in Parliament to respond to the clarifications sought by Members of Parliament at the winding-up stage and the buck was passed to Finance Minister, Senator Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz, who was unable to clarify on behalf of the Prime Minister with regard to the revocation of the six Emergency Ordinances as MPs wanted a clarification from the Prime Minister himself.

The Prime Minister should come to Parliament today to make a Ministerial statement on the effect of the Cabinet meeting on July 21 revoking six Emergency Ordinances, and clarify whether and when the Royal Assent had been given and the necessarily gazette published.

Furthermore, why were Members of Parliament not informed of the revocation when the six Emergency Ordinances were laid before the Dewan Rakyat, which tantamount to a serious breach of parliamentary privilege and warranted the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Takiyuddin Hassan, being referred to the Committee of Privileges.

Or do we have a Prime Minister who is afraid of Parliament – which will be the first time in the history of Malaysia.

I had said that the first sitting of Parliament, which had been illegally and unconstitutionally suspended for six months, had started yesterday as a disaster and ended as a catastrophe.

Muhyiddin’s Ministerial statement on the National Recovery Plan was a disaster because there was no honest attempt to admit that the government had mishandled the Covid-19 pandemic which saw the cumulative total of Covid-19 cases increased by nearly eight times in six months from 135,992 cases on January 11, 2021 when emergency was proclaimed to combat Covid-19 to 1,027,954 cases yesterday and the Covid-19 deaths increased by nearly fifteen times from 551 deaths to 8,201 deaths yesterday.

Muhyiddin’s Ministerial statement was in fact rubbished by both the Health Minister, Adham Baba and the Health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah.

Noor Hisham predicted that Malaysia will reach the peak of Covid-19 transmissions in mid-September with 21,000 Covid-19 cases a day and an expected toll of 17,000 deaths daily by-mid August - based on the projection of an infectious rate (RT) of 1.2.

Adham Baba meanwhile has signed a gazette to extend the Health Ordinance related to movement control to December 31, 2021, a clear indication that the Health Ministry has no confidence that the country can make transition from Phase One to Phase Two anytime soon, although this was supposed to take place under the National Recovery Plan at the end of June – let alone to Phase 4!

Lawyers will have to ascertain whether this extension of the third movement-control order (MCO) to the end of the year, including provisions about penalties in cases of violation, is legal if the Cabinet had revoked six Emergency Ordinances on July 21.

The Prime Minister had to “scrape the bottom of the barrel” to have something nice to say about the government’s war against the Covid-19 pandemic in the past 17 months.

Muhyiddin said Malaysia is one of the fastest countries to vaccinate its people against Covid-19 with vaccine injection capacity having reached more than 500,000 doses a day at present.

The Prime Minister was guilty of fudging the facts.

Yes,, the latest data shows that the daily rate of doses of vaccine administered in the United States is 590,639 doses a day – not very far from the claimed daily vaccine injection capacity of more than 500,000 doses in Malaysia.

But this is to ignore the peak vaccination rate of more than 3 million Covid-19 shots per day in the United States in early April and the dramatic decline in daily vaccination rate as people who were most eager to get vaccinated received their shots.

Since Covid-19 vaccine distribution began in the United States on Dec. 14, more than than 342 million doses had been administered, fully vaccinating over 163 million people or 49.1% of the total U.S. population.

United States’ vaccination rollout is slowing down although President Biden has urged Americans to get jabbed and infections are rising across the country. In some states, fewer than half of residents have received their first dose.

But after being one of the world leaders in vaccine uptake until the middle of April, the US vaccination rate has slowed down and US now lags behind UK, Italy, France, Germany, Israel and Canada in terms of doses administered as share of total population – and Malaysia is still a long way behind these countries.

The US still hasn't reached the target set by President Biden of 4 July for getting 70% of those over 18 vaccinated with at least one shot - currently around 68% of adults have received their first dose.

New infections have more than doubled in the US in the past month - and according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the vast majority of new cases and deaths are among the unvaccinated.

In the southern states in America, and in the mountain west states, most of older adults are vaccinated but a lot of the younger ones are not.

This information on the slowing down of the rate of vaccination, together with the latest information that the Delta variant of Covid-19 virus is more transmissible and has pushed up the threshold for herd immunity to as much as 98% of the population to be vaccinated, is something for the authorities to digest.

But we must not proceed on false data, premises and assumptions - which are the fatal mistakes of the National Recovery Plan.

The question is whether the new target of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NIP) for 100 per cent of adults to receive full doses of vaccine by October, compared to the original plan of 80 per cent of adults being fully vaccinated by the first quarter of 2022, is achievable.

In yesterday’s Ministerial statement, the Prime Minister had failed to explain how the National Recovery Plan can be ”whole-of-nation” Plan when it cannot even be a “whole-of-Parliament” Plan!

Malaysia urgently needs a “whole-of-nation” National Recovery Council to plan and execute a new policy and strategy to gain control of the Covid-19 pandemic, based on “Live with Covid” and not “Zero Covid” objective.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri