KUALA LUMPUR, July 26 – The Malaysian Parliament, which reconvened today after more than a six-month lapse following the proclamation of Emergency, probably recorded one of the highest viewership number in its history as more than 17,000 Malaysians and foreigners followed the special meeting on the YouTube channel alone, with active participation in the chat box as well.
Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun started the session with the announcement that two Members of Parliament and 12 Parliament staff had tested positive for Covid-19, and another 58 Parliament staff and five or six MPs were under home quarantine. He also gave an update on the pandemic situation and called on the cooperation of all MPs towards fighting the Covid-19 crisis, before opening up for debate and discussion.
Emergency Proclamation/Revocation of Ordinances
The Opposition team protested the proclamation of the emergency and the revocation of the emergency ordinances on July 21, saying it was done arbitrarily and without being tabled at the Parliament and without so much an announcement.
Among the Oppostion MPs who voiced their protest on the move on the Proclamation of Emergency and the revocation of the Ordinances were Warisan President, Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal (Semporna), Ram Karpal (Bukit Gelugor), Amanah President Mohamad Sabu (Kota Raja), Gobind Singh Deo (Puchong).
As anticipated, the handling or mishandling of the Covid-19, depending on who took the mike at the sitting, was at the forefront of arguments, while the Emergency proclamation and the sudden announcement of the revocation of the Emergency Ordinances raised some of the strongest words in the Dewan Rakyat.
Leading the way was Ram Karpal who accused the Speaker of taking sides with the government for not ensuring the compliance with Parliament processes.
“You did not bring the (emergency) ordinances and the proclamation to be debated in this House, why is that? Are you a government lapdog? You have disgraced this August House, you are not fit to sit on that chair. You should resign as the Dewan Rakyat Speaker,” he said.
Opposition leader and Member Parliament for Port Dickson, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim also raised questions on the manner in which the revocation of Emergency Ordinances were quietly done on July 21.
“Is this like a pasar malam?” he asked, saying that the emergency ordinances were carried out through the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the its revocation should also be done in the same way or through Parliament.
Apart from the highly charged moments, there were the MPs who took the stand to make suggestions for improving the Covid-19 situation in the country. Some notable suggestions came from the MP for Permatang Pauh, Nurul Izzah Anwar, who called on for measures to be implemented like several countries had, to enable Malaysia to transit to living with the Covid-19.
Other issues raised included on the plight of the contract doctors who took to a silent demonstration this morning before going back to their duties. Many MPs expressed for a decent deal for the contract doctors and commended all frontliners including doctors, nurses and the security forces for their hard work in the ongoing pandemic.
While the debate went on in Dewan Rakyat, the YouTube chat box provided a glimpse of how Malaysians, particularly the younger generation were viewing or handling the information, the heated exchanges, the cool MPs who sought to provide resolutions.
Whether they were party supporters or just interested citizens, they were fully engaged, sending in their commendations, thumbs up or down signs or plain nasty remarks on all the exchanges at the Dewan Rakyat.