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Opposition wants more details before joining Ismail’s ‘family meeting’

Opposition parties want more details on their role in the Special Committee on Pandemic Management before any decision is made.

Aliff Fikri
2 minute read
A worker watches as Ismail Sabri Yaakob gives his inaugural speech as prime minister on Aug 22, during which he introduced the 'Malaysian Family' tag line. Photo: Bernama
A worker watches as Ismail Sabri Yaakob gives his inaugural speech as prime minister on Aug 22, during which he introduced the 'Malaysian Family' tag line. Photo: Bernama

The opposition is asking Ismail Sabri Yaakob to clarify the terms of the Special Committee on Pandemic Management which the prime minister had said on Thursday would include representatives from the opposition, saying any decision on whether to work together will be made after that.

Pejuang deputy chairman Marzuki Yahya said this was important for assessing the contributions and role to be played by opposition parties.

“We want to see the contents of the establishment of the committee, as stated by Ismail,” the former Dewan Negara member told MalaysiaNow.

“What are the contents? What is our role? What kind of cooperation would it be?

“Then only will we make a decision on whether to support, agree or not.”

Ismail had said that the inclusion of opposition members was part of a collective effort to involve all stakeholders to ensure the country’s recovery as planned, in line with the spirit of the Malaysian Family.

The Malaysian Family is a tagline introduced during his inaugural speech as prime minister.

Marzuki said the bloc’s stand was to prevent a repeat of what had happened with the National Recovery Council which he claimed had not followed the suggestions of Pejuang chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“This is why we want to know what Ismail’s plan is and what the work of the opposition will be.”

Mahathir had proposed on June 12 the formation of a National Recovery Council similar to the National Operations Council or Mageran formed in the aftermath of the May 13 riots.

He said the council’s role would be to reduce the number of new Covid-19 cases until herd immunity is achieved in the country.

The Perikatan Nasional government led by Muhyiddin Yassin set up the council on July 16 to monitor the implementation of the National Recovery Plan.

At the time, the council was chaired by Muhyiddin.

Mahathir however criticised it, saying it had been politicised when Muhyiddin was appointed as its chair.

Amanah communications director Khalid Samad agreed with the formation of the special committee and its involvement of the opposition.

The Shah Alam MP said the committee would be better able to tackle the Covid-19 problem.

“We just hope that Ismail can give us the details of what our role would be,” he told MalaysiaNow.

Warisan Youth chief Azis Jamman said his party had no problem holding discussions with the government as part of efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19.

But he said Warisan also wanted to assess the subject matter of the committee first.

“If it’s just for show, then there’s no point,” the Sepanggar MP said to MalaysiaNow.

“It’s the same thing Muhyiddin offered before. He said ‘bipartisan’ but he never heeded our suggestions.

“It’s like the Special Independent Emergency Committee,” he added. “We weren’t clear about its role either, let alone the need for it to be set up.”