Shafie Apdal: Hybrid parliamentary meeting a ‘half-baked attempt’ at tackling Covid-19

Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal. - Filepic/The Star

KOTA KINABALU: There is a need for a conventional Parliamentary session instead of a hybrid sitting to thoroughly discuss Covid-19 issues in the country, says Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

The former Sabah chief minister said this is even more vital now that the Covid-19 situation is worsening in the country despite the state of emergency which saw parliamentary meeting suspended since January.

“However, the number of new cases is still increasing rapidly while the rate of vaccination is low and this cannot be allowed to worsen, ” he said in a statement on Saturday (June 5).

"Conducting a hybrid parliamentary meeting seems like a half-baked effort. It is not the answer to this crisis caused by the pandemic. This is a serious matter and must be dealt with seriously," Shafie said.

"Just restrict it to the 220 members of Parliament. There's no need for their officers to attend. Furthermore, I believe all MPs have already been vaccinated," he said.

When the state of emergency was declared on Jan 12 this year, the daily number of Covid-19 cases was 3,309 with a cumulative number of 141,533. The number of new deaths was four and the total number of deaths then was 559.

On June 4, the country recorded 7,748 new cases, bringing the cumulative number of cases to 603,122. Another 86 deaths were recorded, bringing the country's death toll to 3,182.

A nationwide state of emergency had been imposed from Jan 12 until Aug 1 as a proactive measure to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

Shafie said economists, analysts, and industries have aired their opinions and made recommendations on what Malaysia can do to prevent further economic decline.

"But is the government taking them seriously? We need Parliament to sit so we can discuss these issues. We must deal with this crisis and the economic problems in order for us to move forward, ” he said.

He said countries such as Singapore, Britain, Australia and many other parliamentary democracies continued with their legislative arm to sit and collectively address the Covid-19 problem and plan for their economic recovery.

Shafie pointed out that large-scale events like the Olympics are going ahead based on standard operating procedures (SOPs).

"Holding the parliamentary meeting is essential and if the government can allow for essential factories to open, then why not something that is crucial like Parliament?” he asked.

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