On the agenda today: State of emergency proclamation and state of emergency ordinance.
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The Dewan Rakyat has once again reconvened for a special meeting of the third session of the 14th Parliament.
This meeting has been scheduled for five days: 26 to 29 July, and 2 August. There will be a three day break in between.
The last time Malaysia’s Parliament met was on 17 December 2020. A month later, in January of 2021, when a State of Emergency was declared.
Covid-19 status at Parliament
10:10 am – The Dewan is informed by Yang di-Pertua Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun that 12 Parliament staff members have tested positive for Covid and 58 have to be quarantined as they were close contacts.
Two MPs have also tested positive and another 5 have been quarantined for close contact.
10:15 am – Dr Kelvin Yii (Kucing – DAP) suggested to the Dewan Speaker that the doors to the Parliament hall is opened for better ventilation, and to set an example to others.
The Speaker says that it will be taken into consideration.
10:17 am – Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (Semporna – Warisan) questions emergency proclamation, saying it’s okay for fighting Covid-19, but it shouldn’t affect things such as Standing Orders.
10:20 am – Ramkarpal Singh (Bukit Gelugor – DAP) pointed out that Regulations of the House do not supersede the Constitution and questioned whether the Speaker, Datuk Azhar Harun, was a government lapdog, asking him to resign.
In response, voices could be heard telling Ramkarpal to take back his words, while others supported him.
10:25 am – Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (Langkawi – Pejuang) said this is not a Parliament session and according to the Agong’s decree, they were to reconvene ASAP. He said the rakyat is suffering but the government is giving out statements in parliament rather than talking about it with MPs.
He also called the Special Parliamentary sitting a glorified briefing.
Dr Mahathir, a medical doctor by profession, criticised the government’s plan to fight Covid, saying it was not effective.
Speaker says that Langkawi can push the questions to PM after he has given his statement.
10:33 am – Gobind Singh Deo (Puchong – DAP) said this meeting should be talking about and voting on whether the Government is doing a good job in handling the pandemic, adding that if the Government has failed, then the Prime Minister should resign.
10:40 am – William Leong Jee Keen (Selayang – PKR) said the blood on their hands can never be washed.
“What will we tell their families? We have the chance for Parliament to serve the rakyat,” he said, calling for the Speaker to review the motion sent by Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (Port Dickson – PKR).
Anwar’s motion was for the next conference to discuss matters related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
11:00 am – Parliamentary Minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan (Kota Bharu – PAS) says this is a special sitting, but Opposition MPs shout back that Agong said this should be a debate.
11:05 am – Responding to arguments by the Opposition, the Dewan Rakyat Speaker said this Parliament session is according to Standing Orders 11(3) which refers to a special meeting when parliament is suspended.
As such, he said they are technically in the third term, which is suspended.
Standing Orders 11(3) mentions that the Prime Minister will brief the Speaker if, for the good of the public, a special session needs to be conducted. 11(3) also mentions that the “business shall be appointed by the Prime Minister” so it’s up to his prerogative of the Prime Minister.
11:10 am – After almost an hour of being criticised, the Speaker scolded the Opposition MPs for only talking about regulations that suit them, saying he did not agree with anything they had said, before finally calling on Anwar to speak.
Anwar says Standing Order 11(3) refers to something specific, not a special policy, like right now where they need to talk about national interests such Covid-19 and economics, among others.
We don’t question the rules where the PM has power as according to 11(3). What we argue is why this Parliament session is not being done according to Article 150(3). The Malay Rulers have convened and the Agong has urged for Parliament to reconvene and debate, not open using 11(3)Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (Port Dickson – PKR)
Anwar says the Agong’s decision has taken into account the plight of the rakyat and said given the directive clearly.
He accused the Prime Minister of openly committing treason and asked if the Speaker wants to follow the Prime Minister’s lead.
Kota Bharu – PAS explained, in response to Port Dickson, that government has also made the decision to revoke any emergency ordinances, and annulment issues will be considered void.
The government won’t advise the Agong to extend the EmergencyParliamentary Minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan (Kota Bharu – PAS)
Kota Bharu clarified that the Emergency Ordinance was revoked on 21 July 2021.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Mahiaddin Md Yasin – National Recovery Plan
11:45 am – Prime Minister Tan Sri Mahiaddin Md Yasin opens his speech touching on the current pandemic that the country is faced with.
Covid -19 is an unprecedented event at an imaginable scale.Prime Minister Tan Sri Mahiaddin Md Yasin
Mahiaddin continues by laying out all the government has done in the form of assistance to aid the people and to all sectors during the pandemic.
12:00 pm – Mahiaddin reiterates the National Recovery Plan.
READ MORE: Five States To Go Into Phase 2 on 5 July
12:10 pm – The government, for the first time, will come out with a pre-budget statement in August, announced the Prime Minister.
He added that The National Recovery Council (MPN) has agreed to invite representatives from opposition parties as MPN members. One from Pejuang, Pakatan Harapan, and one from Warisan.
12:20 pm –
Malaysia has one of the highest vaccination rate.Prime Minister Tan Sri Mahiaddin Md Yasin
Mahiaddin closes his speech by sending his best to the Malaysian contingent at the Tokyo Olympics.
Question and answers
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (Port Dickson – PKR) demands clarification regarding the revoking of the Emergency Ordinance that was announced by Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan (Kota Bharu – PAS).
He questions why the announcement was not made formally and has it been presented to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong first.
Anwar also brought up issue regarding contract doctors and how the government should pay more attention to the frontlines.
Tun Mahathir Mohamad (Langkawi – Pejuang) noted that as expected the Prime Minister’s speech is just a repeat of a plan that is clearly failing.
Resign if you should resign. Take it from someone who resigned twice.Tun Mahathir Mohamad (Langkawi – Pejuang)
He said that based on what the Prime Minister has announced, the government is not taking the fight against Covid-19 seriously.
The MPN is just a body filled with politicians that reports to the Prime Minister and is ineffective, noted Dr Mahathir, and added that the government should pay attention to the rakyat’s suffering as the RM350 billion spent by the government so far doesn’t really affect the rakyat directly.
1:00 pm – Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (Muar – Independent) who was about to speak was cut off by the Deputy Speaker who called for a lunch break.
2:30 pm – Evening session of the Special Parliamentary Sitting continues with Deputy Yang di-Pertua Datuk Sri Azalina Othman as speaker.
2:40 pm – Datuk Sri Jalaluddin Alias (Jelebu – BN/Umno) points out the need for all private entities, such as the private hospital and insurance, to play their part during the pandemic.
He also stated the need for the government to address the issue of contract doctors and nursed.
2:46 pm – Mohamad Sabu (Kota Raja – Amanah) says that the state of emergency is used to save the Prime Minister in his position. There is no need for a state of emergency when there is the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA).
We can give a medal to the Prime Minister for the high number of covid cases. Over 1 million!Mohamad Sabu (Kota Raja – Amanah)
2:56 pm – Datuk Mohd Salim Sharif (Jempol – BN/Umno) questions the role of the Ministry of Communication and Multimedia (KKMM) as the government has to be clear about their messaging on Covid-19 SOPs during the PPN.
Jempol also questions why are Ministers missing those who needs them the most. Are the infrastructures enough to help the rakyat especially in the rural areas.
At the same time he added that 580,000 or 49% small and business owners will close shop by October if they’re not allowed to operate.
3:05 pm – Datuk Sri Mohd Shafie Apdal (Semporna – Warisan) brought up the issue of the Emergency Ordinance being revoked without an announcement before today. With no proper coordination.
He also questions the delayed vaccination schedule and suggests how it could have been done better. Semporna gave the example of giving the vaccine to those who are tested negative.
Reduce the red tape. Vaccinate the people.Datuk Sri Mohd Shafie Apdal (Semporna – Warisan)
There should be a mass mobilisation for vaccination between private and public sectors.
The middle income group that that we’ve built all these years has collapsedDatuk Sri Mohd Shafie Apdal (Semporna – Warisan)
Semporna added that the opposition can cooperate with the government, but don’t make it a one-way street.
3:18 pm – Lukanisman Awang Sauni (Sibuti – GPS) expressed his worry about an upcoming by-election in Sarawak. The state might face another outbreak if the election is held within 60 days after 1 August. This is especially because the Delta variant has appeared in the state.
Although our vaccine rates are good, it’s still not safe to hold elections.Lukanisman Awang Sauni (Sibuti – GPS)
Sibuti agrees that a localised Emergency should to be extended in the state to prevent a new election from happening any time soon.
3:26 pm – Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (Muar – Independent) says that the Prime Minister does not know what is going in Malaysia as he rarely go down onto the field and meet the people.
In his experience Muar has seen people from as far as Pagoh coming down to Muar just to get food baskets.
He said that 1 million Malaysians are unemployed with 500,000 in the next few months. Research has also shown that income levels have decreased, while income of the top 50 richest have increased.
Muar suggest that the government charge windfall tax on corporations.
He also questions how the government can spend millions for cytros, but still can’t deliver on 150,000 laptops.
3:35 pm – Yang di-Pertua Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon returns.
3:36 pm – Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim (Arau – BN) Began by thanking the frontliners and them promptly prodded the opposition for labeling the government as a failure (kerajaan gagal) by challenging them to explain what they mean by a failure.
He then questions what the opposition MPs has done with RM300,000 that was given to them as a part of Pemulih.
3:46 pm – Nurul Izzah Anwar (Permatang Pauh – PH) said that vaccination alone is not enough to address the pandemic issue as Covid-19 is not going to disappear any time soon. In fact it may linger for years just as other diseases like dengue fever does.
We have to be realistic, we have to look at improving the income level.Nurul Izzah Anwar (Permatang Pauh – PH)
Permatang Pauh also pointed out that the raining season is coming, and with it floods. This will compound the difficult that the people are already facing during the pandemic.
She ended the her time by asking the government to take better care of the contract medical professionals and formulate a more amicable solution.
3:56 pm – Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh (Pasir Puteh – PAS) asks the government to open the economic sector in stages but at a faster rate. At the same time provide enough vaccination to the people.
The farming sector is can be explored by the rakyat, but Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries was only allocated RM400 million out of RM35 billion. This, he said should be recalculated.
4:03 pm – Steven Sim Chee Keong (Bukit Mertajam – PH) says that the government should give a vaccine appointment to all who have registered for the vaccination as it was announced that the private sector may sell vaccination from 1 August.
A private Covid-19 vaccination rollout, said Bukit Mertajam, means that there are enough vaccination for everyone and failing to give shots to those who have appointments would only profit the private sector.
4:13 pm – Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan (Pontian – BN) took the floor with with a long list of points for the governments that spans across all issues, but was only able to blurt out 33 before his time went out.
When asked to summarise, he quipped that he had more in the list but yielded to allow his fellow MPs to speak.
4:18 pm – As someone who works closely with those in rural areas Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau (Tuaran – UPKO) said that there is no point for giving devices to the poor children to learn online if there is no connectivity.
He also agree with his fellow MPs that children in rural areas, especially the poor needs a different solution for their education.
Tuaran added that there should be more Parliamentarians from the opposition in the National Recovery Council (MPN).
4:25 pm – Ahmad Fadhli Shaari (Pasir Mas PAS) expressed his concern for his constituency which is one of the most affected areas during the raining season.
4:37 pm – Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub (Pulai PH) began by listing a number of ministers who took responsibility during a crisis.
During the pandemic, there are over 17,000 were infected a day, many have died not only because of the pandemic, but also because of suicide.
Where is the Health Minister?Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub (Pulai PH)
Pulai pointed out that during a crisis like this the Prime Minister and Ministers who are responsible must show their leadership.
He asks why is the Director-General has to do the announcements, and not the Health Minister
4:42 pm – Dr Maszlee Malik (Simpang Renggam – Independent) expressed his disappointment with the lack of discussion regarding education at parliament so far.
He added that the MOE hasn’t learned anything and still implement a one-size-fits-all approach advocates the issuance of proper SOP and hasten the vaccination for students, especially those who are taking exams, and school workers, including canteen operators.
He points out that the Ministry of Education is still implementing a one-size-fits-all approach when in reality, different schools in different locations and in different situations, require different solutions.
Simpang Renggam also suggests that the government implement the use of radios, in addition to Didik TV and other public and private stations to broadcast educational shows.
He also said that lost generation happens worldwide and it’s a real issue, Malaysia is the country with the highest number of lost school days.
4:52 pm – The opposition raises a ruckus questioning why the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister are not answering their questions.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob explains that Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz (Finance Minister) as the National Recovery Plan coordinator, has been assigned to answer their questions because today’s subject is National Recovery Plan, not the Emergency Ordinance.
5:03 pm – Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz (Finance Minister) said the Prime Minister has ordered the Health Ministry to draft a more comprehensive plan to solve the issue with the contract health workers.
The contract extension announced by the Prime Minister is meant to buy time to find a more holistic solution.
The Dewan Rakyat once again fell back into shouting and name calling when the issue of factory Covid-19 clusters was brought up.
Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali (Gombak – BN/Umno) then as the Minister of International Trade and Industry took the floor to share numbers and data. However, the opposition insists that factories are the cause of clusters.
Dr Ong Kian Ming (Bangi PH) intervened and pointed out that there is a difference between infections that happen at a workplace and infections that happen where the workers stay.
Perhaps, he said, they may have gotten infected because of their living quarters, or they visit each others, or other activities that they did outside of work. This, he said is an issue that the Ministry should look into.
Returning to the floor, the Finance Minister said that he will forward the suggestion to increase the number of opposition Parliamentarians in the National Recovery Council.
When asked why Sabah is lagging in vaccinations, Tengku Zafrul said among the factors is the low registration rate among the people in the state.
When pressed he said that the two one dose vaccine that will be sent to Sabah is CanSino and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen one dose vaccine.
Addressing the suggested windfall tax, Finance Minister said that it would scare away investors as it would look like the government is taking opportunity of the situation.
5:49pm – The Parliament is suspended for the day and will continue tomorrow 27 July 2021.