THE Malaysian Health Coalition urges that any decision to postpone Parliament meetings must consider science and public health in apolitical terms. A functioning parliamentary democracy is an essential service, especially during a pandemic. There must be appropriate public scrutiny, lawmaking and debates to find the broadest range of ideas to fight Covid-19.
While we recognise Parliament’s stature and importance, it is still a workplace. We can draw lessons from other workplaces that deliver essential services and follow the spirit of the National Recovery Plan. Therefore, Parliament can safely function if it follows workplace SOPs recommended by the Health Ministry, National Security Council, and Department of Occupational Safety & Health.
Additionally, the majority of Members of Parliament are already vaccinated, and all entry into Parliament requires a prior negative Covid-19 test; these measures provide protection for attendees. Extra preventive steps can be implemented to enable Parliamentary meetings, such as virtual or hybrid meetings and to vaccinate all parliamentary staff as soon as possible.
We need trust to deliver effective healthcare to all Malaysians. Trust is built when decisions are consistent and when the Health Ministry, its leaders, and all health professionals are ring-fenced from partisan politics. Science and public health must be apolitical, to preserve the rakyat’s trust.
MALAYSIAN HEALTH COALITION (MHC)Note: This letter was signed by 56 member organisations of the MHC; the full list of members is available at myhealthcoalition.org.