Parliament can convene once herd immunity against Covid-19 is achieved, Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin said.
He said calls for Parliament to sit will only result in more infections.
“The most important thing for us now is to get vaccinated. Once we reach herd immunity, then we can open Parliament.
“We have yet to reach herd immunity. Why are there proposals to reconvene Parliament, which can result in clusters?” he said during a visit to a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur.
Yesterday, Umno Supreme Council member Puad Zarkashi has questioned Dewan Rakyat speaker Azhar Azizan Harun on why Parliament can’t conduct a virtual sitting.
He said Azahar’s predicament is that the Federal Constitution needs to be amended to enable virtual sitting for Parliament.
Previously, Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker Azalina Othman Said has also been urging the government to convene Parliament.
She said she was disappointed with the silence from the government and her fellow MPs to her previous call for Parliament to be convened.
Azalina said the government can impose a lockdown on the public but it must not lock down the process of democracy in the country.
Explaining further, Hamzah said if Parliament is to sit, there would be over 1,000 people including MPs, civil servants and staff.
He said they would gather at the Parliament building from morning until evening for four days a week.
“So, wouldn’t this make it a hotspot? If we prevent this now, the cluster won’t occur.”
Hamzah also said that even PKR did not conduct their party congress and instead had a virtual meeting.
“This means that they are also scared of doing a gathering, but they want that to happen with Parliament.”
Hamzah stressed that holding the Parliament sittings virtually will result in a lot of problems.
“If we want to have a virtual Parliament, then there will be much more problems. How are we going to do it virtually?
“There are many people involved, including government servants. Thousands of them.
“We will have to discuss this. We have to take into account that whatever we do, we must study first.”
The minister’s comments came about when he was answering a question over the government’s plan to take action against anti-vaxxers. Hamzah suddenly detoured and took a swipe at those calling for Parliament to resume.
For the record, the Dewan Rakyat has yet to convene this year.
Lawyers and MPs had last year said that Parliamentary proceedings in Malaysia can easily be conducted online through video-conferencing without even having to amend the Federal Constitution, stressing that it is not “rocket science” but simply a matter of whether there is political will to do so
Earlier today, PKR adviser Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail had during a speech at the 15th PKR Women’s Congress urged for Parliament to reconvene, in order to address problems affecting families and the public such as domestic violence and sexual harassment which had worsened during the movment control orders.
“Because of this, the Rakyat’s issues cannot be debated thoroughly. Besides these issues I have just mentioned, economic disparity, the public’s mental health, domestic violence, children and wives dying in the hands of their caretakers and husbands, and the issue of education system which constantly becomes the centre of attention without a proper solution from the government,” the former women, family and community development minister had said of matters that need to be addressed in Parliament.