The Home Minister, Hamzah Zainuddin, thought he is very clever and has come up with an idea where the Malaysian Parliament will not be able to meet at all.
He said that Parliament will only sit after the country achieves herd immunity against the Covid-19 virus and said calls for the government to reconvene the Dewan Rakyat before the immunisation objective would only “spark more infection clusters”.
He said: “What is important for us now is that everybody gets vaccinated. If everybody has got their vaccines and we have herd immunity, then what will happen next is we can reopen Parliament, we can hold gatherings.
“However, when we are yet to reach there, why make such calls (to have Parliament sittings) that can spark more clusters, which can be damaging and create ill feelings?”
Hamzah’s comments came about when he was answering a question on the government’s plan to take action against anti-vaxxers, when he suddenly detoured and took a swipe at those calling for Parliament to resume.
It is clear that Hamzah regards Malaysians who call for the end of suspension of Parliament as greater enemies than anti-vaxxers.
Is this the view of the entire Muhyiddin government?
This presents a very sad and gloomy prospect for Malaysia for there does not seem to be any light at the end of the tunnel.
It is clear that the Muhyiddin government does not accept that the two greatest imperatives in the war against the Covid-19 pandemic are firstly, the need to restore public trust and confidence in the government handling of the war against the Covid-19 pandemic and secondly, the need to spearhead a national mobilisation of Malaysians through a genuine “whole-of-society” strategy and approach in the war against the Covid-19 pandemic, so that there can be efficient mass Find-Test-Trace-Isolate-Support (FTTIS) strategy and an acceleration of the national vaccination rollout.
What is the use of Hamzah talking about reconvening Parliament when Malaysia reaches herd immunity when neither the Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, nor the Co-ordinating Minister for Vaccines, Khairy Jamaluddin, has got a clear-cut time-line for achieving herd immunity in Malaysia?
It is fortunate that Hamzah’s idea that Parliament should only meet where a country achieves herd immunity against Covid-19 had not infected the rest of the planet, for it would be the death knell for democracy in the world.
The United States Congress would not be able to meet and Donald Trump would probably continue to be United States President and instead of United States slashing its daily increase of new Covid-19 cases by 94.2% from its peak of 304,998 cases on January 8, 2021 to 17,821 cases on June 3, 2021, the United States would have seen a daily increase of new Covid-19 cases probably to a million figure.
United Kingdom, which has now a cumulative total of 4,499,878 Covid-19 cases, and which reached its peak of daily increase of 67,843 new Covid-19 cases on January 8, did not suspend its Parliament, but met for 66 days from January and May, 2021 and will next sit on June 7 as it is now in recess. Now, for the last two months, the daily increase of new Covid-19 cases in the United Kingdom have never exceeded 5,300 cases.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro would be very grateful if he had thought of Hamzah’s idea earlier, for he is now facing a parliamentary inquiry, approved by Brazil’s Supreme Court, for his mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic that has killed more than 460,000 people with an cumulative total of more than 16 million cases.
Even in India, the Indian Parliament is not suspended although it is undergoing a devastating period of Covid-19 pandemic, reaching a peak of daily increase of 414,433 new Covid-19 cases on May 6, 2021 and a peak daily fatality of 4,525 deaths on May, 18, 2021. India’s cumulative total of Covid-19 cases now stands at 28.4 million cases, ranking it as No. 2 among nations with the most cumulative total of Covid-19 cases – after United States’ cumulative total of over 34.1 million cases.
But most important of all, expert medical opinion are coming round to the view that herd immunity against Covid-19 may be impossible because of vaccine hesitancy, the emergence of new variants which are more deadly and more transmissible and the delayed arrival of vaccination for children.
Is Hamzah suggesting that if herd immunity against Covid-19 proves to be impossible, the Malaysian Parliament should remain suspended and should not meet all at?
Let Muhyiddin declare whether Hamzah’s new idea is now the stand of the Perikatan Nasional government.