Parliamentary Select Committee on Health, Science and Innovation should conduct public hearings on the Covid-19 lessons to be learnt in Malaysia

The United Kingdom Parliamentary science and technology as well as the health and social care Select Committees have come out with a joint report stating that Britain’s early handling of the coronavirus pandemic was one of the worst public health failures in UK history.

It is time that the Malaysian Parliamentary Select Committees, in particular the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health, Science and Innovation should conduct public hearings on the Covid-19 lessons to be learnt in Malaysia, if we are to be prepared for the next pandemic which medical experts have warned could come soon and be deadlier.

Furthermore, why Malaysia became one of the worst-performing nations in the Covid-19 pandemic, even worse than Indonesia, a country more than eight times the population of Malaysia?

This was illustrated again by yesterday’s numbers for daily new Covid-19 cases and daily Covid-19 deaths (Indonesia yesterday had 1,261 new cases and 47 deaths as compared to Malaysia’s 7,276 cases and 103 deaths) and this situation had been going on for more than a week.

On Monday, Parliament approved the increase of the number of members in the parliamentary special select committees from seven to nine members, with five from the government and four from the opposition.

It is time for the 10 parliamentary special select committees to be fully formed in the next twelve days before the Dewan Rakyat is reconvened on Oct. 25 for the 2022 Budget session and for each of the parliamentary special select committee to inquire how the Covid-19 pandemic had impinged and impacted on the area of their jurisdiction.

A check of the United Kingdom House of Commons website shows that apart from the latest report describing the coronavirus pandemic as one of the “worst public health failures” in UK history, the various parliamentary select committees have so far submitted 57 reports related to the Covid-19 pandemic, for instance, the Justice select committee had submitted seven reports on the Covid-19 pandemic, such as its impact on prisons, the legal profession, on court and Tribunal reforms and on the probation service.

The Home Affairs select committee had submitted six reports on the Covid-19 pandemic, including Home Office preparedness with regard to domestic abuse and risks of harm with the home, immigration and visas, institutional accommodation and management of the borders.

The Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) select committee had submitted three reports on the charity sector and the future of the digital technology; the Education select committee had submitted two reports on the impact of Covid-19 on education and children’s services while the Women and Equalities Select Committee had submitted four reports including on “gendered economic impact” and “treating disabled people unfairly”.

Apart from these close to 60 reports, there are over fifty ongoing inquiries on the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic in the various spheres of life by the various parliamentary select committees in the British Parliament.

Malaysia’s parliamentary special select committees have a lot to catch up to play the important role of check-and-balance to the Executive as intended by the Malaysian Constitution and the historic confidence-supply-reform (CSR) memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri and the Pakatan Harapan leaders on 13th September 2021.

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri