Two select committees to convene before Emergency expires

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The Select Committee on Health, Science and Innovation will aim to convene on July 23, well ahead of the expiry of emergency on Aug 1.

In a statement today, committee chairperson Dr Kelvin Yii said he had informed Dewan Rakyat speaker Azhar Azizan Harun of this.

Yii said the committee will convene the meeting to heed the decreed of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, who wished to see Parliament reconvene and for the select committees to play a check and balance role.

“This is necessary to ensure an administration that is transparency, has integrity and show responsibility,” he said.

Yii said the meeting was necessary, in view of the spread of Covid-19 was not contained despite more than a month of “total lockdown” since June 1.

“Worryingly, hospitals throughout the country, especially in the Klang Valley, are at saturation point,” said Yii, a trained medical doctor.

He said the select committee will scrutinise developments with the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.

Yii’s committee is the second select committee after the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to declare that they will meet ahead of the Aug 1 deadline.

The PAC will meet physically on July 26 in Parliament, its chairman Wong Kah Woh said yesterday.

If the select committees were to meet before Aug 1, they risk violating Section 14(1) of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 which has suspended parliamentary proceedings during an emergency.

Last month, the Agong had, in the span of two weeks, decreed twice that Parliament should be reconvened for MPs to debate the proclamation of emergency and emergency ordinances.

Experts have pointed out that should Parliament not reconvene before emergency expires, then the debates on the proclamation of emergency and emergency ordinances would be rendered academic.

Putrajaya eventually buckled and promised to accede to the decree. A date is expected after the cabinet meets on July 7.