#kerajaangagal131 – Call on Cabinet to be game-changer in the war against Covid-19 pandemic and to convene an emergency meeting of Dewan Rakyat in the first week of July as Dewan Rakyat Standing Order 9(2)(b) dispenses with the 28-day notice in “cases of urgency” as determined to by Parliament Speaker
The Cabinet meeting today should be a game-changer in the war against Covid-19 pandemic and decide on convening an emergency meeting of the Dewan Rakyat in the first week of July as the Dewan Rakyat Standing Order 9(2)(b) dispenses with the 28-day notice in “cases of urgency” as may be determined by the Parliament Speaker.
There are so far three views on the convening of Parliament.
Firstly, the view that under Article 40 of the Constitution, the Yang di Pertuan Agong must act on the advice of the Cabinet or designated Minister – therefore if the Cabinet decides that Parliament should meet in September or October under Phase Three of the National Recovery Plan or that it should be suspended indefinitely, the Yang di Pertuan Agong has no choice but only to act on the advice of the Cabinet or designated Minister.
Secondly, the view that the Prime Minister has given an implicit undertaking not to invoke Article 40 of the Constitution when enacting Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 on January 11, 2021 and establishing an independent special committee “to advise the Yang di Pertuan Agong on the continuing existence of the grave emergency threatening the security, economic life and public order of the Federation arising from the epidemic of an infection disease, namely Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)”. As a result, the Yang di Pertuan did not have to act on the advice of the Cabinet or a designated Minister.
Thirdly, the view that under Section 14 (1)(b) of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021, which provides that “Parliament shall be summoned, prorogued and dissolved on a date as the Yang di Pertuan Agong thinks appropriate”, the Yang di Pertuan Agong have the emergency powers not to act on advice from the Cabinet or the designated Minister, especially as the power of dissolution of Parliament is a power which the Yang di Pertuan Agong can exercise without acting on advice from the Cabinet or the designated Minister under Article 40 (2)(c) of the Constitution. The learned President of the Senate, Rais Yatim, supports this interpretation and this view has considerable merit because of the poor drafting of the Ordinance.
But I believe all these considerations must be subordinated to one overriding concern – how to turn the tides of defeat to win the war against the Covide-19 pandemic, which has claimed 4,554 lives (77 deaths less than China which has 1.4 billion people or some 44 times Malaysia’s population) and caused untold devastation to the Malaysian economy and society.
I have been in Parliament, except for one term, for more than five decades since 1969.
I have no interest in any parliamentary game but only one concern – how Parliament is to rise to the occasion to unite Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region or politics to spearhead a “whole-of-society” national mobilisation to turn the tides of defeat to win the war against Covid-19 pandemic.
We have failed in the last 18 months to impress on all Malaysians that we are in the midst of an invisible but lethal war against the Covid-19 pandemic as there is no reason whatsoever for Malaysia to be suddenly catapulted to be one of the world’s worst performing nations in the Covid-19 pandemic when nations which had hogged the world headlines for months as the world’s worst performing nations have turned the corner and are doing better than Malaysia in the war against Covid-19 pandemic.
The Malaysian government had been too “tidak apa” about the 4,554 lives lost in the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the past week, there had been 485 Covid-19 deaths in Malaysia as compared to 91 Covid-19 deaths in the United Kingdom. In the first week of the emergency from January 11 – 17, 2021, there were 50 Covid-19 deaths in Malaysia as compared to 7,841 Covid-19 deaths in UK.
Why is this so?
How many more will die if we delay the convening of Parliament until September or October at the present rate of some 70 deaths a day or some 2,000 deaths a month?
These deaths do not include the high rate of suicide during the Covid-19 pandemic. According to police statistics, 266 people took their lives between March 18 and Oct 30, 2020.
With 705,762 Covid-19 cases, we are now ranked No. 37 today among nations with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases, as compared to seven months ago when we were ranked No. 85 on Nov. 18, 2020. China, from No. 1 ranking, is now No. 100 among nations with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases.
Do we want to be join the “millionaire club” in the Covid-19 pandemic with 28 nations with more than a million cases of Covid-19 cases?
If Parliament is only convened in September or October, we may have already joined the Covid-19 “millionaire club”!
United States, India and United Kingdom have all made phenomenal drops from their peak in daily increase of new Covid-19 cases – United States by 98%, India by 93% and United Kingdom by 83%, while we are struggling to avoid a new peak of daily increase of new Covid-19 cases.
I share the sentiment of the UMNO MP for Tanjong Karang, Noh Omar when he said he supported the Yang di Pertuan Agong’s decree for the immediate convening of Parliament but would not support a no-confidence vote.
This was why I had proposed a one-year political moratorium which can be extended to two years where there is only one national priority – to win the war against the Covid-19 pandemic and to ensure that Covid-19 fatalities do not exceed 5,000 deaths.
Let all other issues be subordinated to overcoming the existential threat to Malaysia of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Cabinet meeting later this morning must be a game-changer in the war against the Covid-19 pandemic. It should endorse the two conclusions of the Conference of Rulers special meeting on 16th June that Parliament and the State Assemblies should be convened as soon as possible with Parliament meeting before August 1 and that there is no need for the emergency to extend beyond August 1, 2021.
Let us put aside our differences, whether political or otherwise, and single-mindedly win the war against the Covid-19 pandemic.
This is what we all owe to Malaysia.