KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 17 — Former Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad and his then-deputy, Dr Lee Boon Chye, have been excluded from a parliamentary committee monitoring the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation (MOSTI).
The special select committee on health, science, and innovation comprises seven MPs, including five from the government and two Opposition:
- Yamani Hafez Musa (Sipitang-Bersatu)
- Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim (Baling-Umno)
- Bung Moktar Radin (Kinabatangan-Umno), who is also Sabah deputy chief minister
- Lukanisman Awang Sauni (Sibuti-GPS)
- Wan Hassan Mohd Ramli (Dungun-PAS)
- Xavier Jayakumar (Kuala Langat-PKR), who is also former Water, Land, and Natural Resources Minister
- Dr Kelvin Yii (Bandar Kuching-DAP)
CodeBlue sighted a list of the members of the special select committee that was placed on MPs’ desks in Parliament today on the last day of the Dewan Rakyat meeting.
“Generally, the Speaker chooses the MPs for each committee based on the party’s recommendations,” Dr Yii told CodeBlue.
“By convention, the chairman is chosen from the government MPs. However, there was precedent during Pakatan Harapan time where an opposition MP was chosen to lead a parliamentary service commission (PSC).”
Sarawak lawmaker Dr Yii also said that the ultimate goal of the committee is to contribute to the necessary reforms and policy direction on important sectors, including long-term reforms and roadmaps for the good of the nation.
“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I believe the main agenda on our table will be input to the current Covid-19 approach taken by the government, scrutinising its effectiveness and also future plans to deal with the pandemic on top of other ongoing health issues.
“Vaccine and its safety efficiency and distribution should also be on the main agenda, to make sure the government acquires the right vaccine and more importantly, come up with a proper framework of distribution,” Dr Yii added.
The new special select committees are expected to function like select committees in the UK Parliament and have the power to summon ministers, civil servants, as well as to call on their own experts on specific issues if necessary.
The UK Parliament’s House of Commons has a select committee for each government department, examining spending, policies, and administration. The Commons’ Health and Social Care Committee, which shadows the Department of Health and Social Care, launched inquiries this year on the government’s management of the Covid-19 outbreak and on the delivery of core NHS and care services during the pandemic.
Under former Speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof, the Dewan Rakyat set up 10 special select committees that did not specifically shadow government ministries: consideration of bills; budget; defence and home affairs; gender equality and family development; states and federal relations; major public appointments; election; human rights and constitutional affairs; international relations and trade; and science, innovation and environment.