#kerajaangagal103 – Can Hamzah impose his will on the Muhyiddin Cabinet that Parliament can only meet when herd immunity against coronavirus is achieved?

It is most intriguing why the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, is keeping so quiet on the bizarre idea of the Home Minister, Hamzah Zainuddin that the Malaysian Parliament can only meet when herd immunity against Covid-19 is achieved by the end of the year.

Hamzah first came out with this bizarre idea last Friday on 4th June and it was regarded as quite a looney one. I had observed that it was fortunate that Hamzah’s idea had not “infected” the rest of the world or it would be the death knell for democracy.

But when Hamzah repeated the idea yesterday, when he poured cold water on the proposal to set up a hybrid Parliament during the emergency and publicly humiliated not only the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Parliament), Takiyuddin Hassan, who announced the proposal for a hybrid Parliament, but also the Dewan Rakyat speaker, Dewan Negara president, the Dewan Negara deputy president, both deputy speakers of the Dewan Rakyat, and Parliament's chief administrator who are currently studying the proposal, Hamzah’s bizarre idea must be taken more seriously.

Can Hamzah impose his will on the Muhyiddin Cabinet that Parliament can only meet when herd immunity against coronavirus is achieved?

I had expected the bloated Muhyiddin Cabinet to shoot down Hamzah’s bizarre idea on Wednesday and the end of Hamzah’s bizarre idea.

But when Hamzah’s repeated his bizarre idea yesterday, we have to take his proposition more seriously.

If Hamzah is to have his way, then Malaysia will be the first country in the world where its Parliament can only meet when the country achieves herd immunity against Covid-19.

This runs counter to all international practices, whether Congress in the United States, House of Commons in UK, the Lok Sabha in India or the Diet in Japan, as no Parliament in the world has subjected its proceedings to the question whether herd immunity against Covid-19 had been achieved in the country!

Especially when nobody knows whether herd immunity against Covid-19 is achievable or not.

The Muhyiddin government has expressed confidence that it could achieve herd immunity by the end of the year but it dare not reveal its timeline as to how this herd immunity is to be achieved.

The Muhyiddin Cabinet must be aware that expert medical opinion are coming round to the view that herd immunity against Covid-19 may be impossible because of vaccine hesitancy, the emergence of new variants which are more deadly and more transmissible and the delayed arrival of vaccination for children.

Is Hamzah suggesting that if herd immunity against Covid-19 proves to be impossible, the Malaysian Parliament should remain suspended and should not meet all at?

When Muhyiddin or Khariy Jamaluddin is talking about achieving herd immunity, they are referring to vaccinating 80% of the adult population which is very different from 80% of the population.

At present, the National Immunisation Programme (NIP) only aims to vaccinate those above the age of 18. But this category represents only about 65% of the population. This means that even if (and this is a very big IF) we reach 80% of the adult population, it only represents some 52% of the population - a long way from the required 80% of the population required to achieve herd immunity against Covid-19.

I suspect this is the reason why neither Muhyiddin nor Khairy is prepared to unveil the government’s timeline to achieve herd immunity against Covid-19, for nobody knows whether we will ever achieve vaccination rate of 80% of the Malaysian population – as distinct from 80% of the population over 18 years old.

Even the latter objective is problematic if we go by the rate of registration for vaccination.

So if the attainment of herd immunity by vaccinating 80% of the population (as distinct from 80% of the adult population) is so chimerical and uncertain, will the Malaysian Parliament be suspended indefinitely?

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri