MOH Denies Recommending One-Day Parliament Sitting

The Ministry of Health only updates the government on the Covid-19 epidemiological trend, says the Health DG.

KUALA LUMPUR, April 27 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) today denied a minister’s allegation that it had advised the government to limit the upcoming Parliament meeting to a single day.

Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said MOH simply updated the government on the Covid-19 epidemic in the country, such as whether daily reported cases are increasing or dropping.

“Other than that, it’s beyond the Ministry of Health to advise policy matters and et cetera. So we advise the prime minister with regards to the Covid-19 transmission,” Dr Noor Hisham told a press conference.

He also said MOH would seek to provide thermal scanners at Parliament or other public places like restaurants to run temperature screenings on visitors.

“There’ll be temperature screening, social distancing, maintain good personal hygiene, no more handshakes. That is the new norm we have to practice, not only for Parliament, everyone has to practice that,” he said.

Takiyuddin Hassan, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Parliament and legal affairs, said last Saturday that the government decided on a one-day Parliament meeting on May 18 for safety reasons.

“The government will continue to be guided by the Ministry of Health and related experts to ensure that all decisions and actions are based on facts and reasonable considerations for the benefit and safety of all parties.”

Opposition lawmakers have opposed the Perikatan Nasional administration’s unprecedented decision to hold only a one-day Parliament meeting during the Covid-19 crisis that will only hear government-related matters. Question Time and motions have been prohibited.

Pakatan Harapan pointed out that the United Kingdom’s Parliament recently went online in a “hybrid” session that saw a maximum of 50 Members of Parliament physically allowed in the debating chamber, while 120 lawmakers joined in via Zoom video conference.

Reuters reported yesterday that the French government would present its plan to Parliament Tuesday on a lockdown exit strategy, followed by a debate and vote. France’s coronavirus lockdown has been imposed since March 17 and is due to end on May 11. 

The Malaysian government has yet to announce any exit measures from the Movement Control Order that has been extended three times to May 12, after it was first imposed on March 18. 

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