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An MP’s call towards a Covid moratorium agreement

DAP's Ong Kian Ming says political stability will remain elusive and that what is needed is a game changer involving all political parties.

Ong Kian Ming
3 minute read

The country is on a precipice.

Even though the national vaccination programme is going well, we need policy and vaccine supply stability until early October to ensure that the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme is successfully implemented. (This includes rollout for vaccination for those in the 12-17 age group).

Cases are still increasing including in some of the Phase Two states especially with the more contagious Delta variant.

Policy stability is crucial from a healthcare capacity and patient management standpoint for the various categories of Covid-19 cases.

Some opening up of the economy has started to happen in Phase Two states.

The National Security Council and the National Recovery Council need to work hand in hand to come up with science and data-based policies to open up safely and responsibly.

What if Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin resigns this week or next week because he feels he does not have or cannot get the majority support of the MPs in the Dewan Rakyat? The Cabinet will also be dissolved and unless a new PM and a new Cabinet can be installed quickly, this means that the policy stability needed will no longer be present.

What if Muhyiddin resigns and a new PM is installed? It is likely that any new PM will also not be able to command the majority support from MPs which means that any government or Cabinet sworn in may be short-lived whenever an important vote comes up in Parliament in the next sitting.

Policy stability will remain elusive in the next few crucial months.

What if Muhyiddin asks for Parliament to be dissolved to pave the way for a general election? If the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is agreeable to this, then a GE has to be called within 60 days of the dissolution of Parliament.

This means that we will have a GE in October, at a time when the pandemic will still not be under control. Cases will spike again in a way that is similar to what happened after the Sabah state election. All the hard work to vaccinate and to bring down the number of cases will be lost.

I think the rakyat are sick and tired of the political games which the political class is playing. What they want is some clear direction on how to solve the health, economic and political crisis which has enveloped the country over the past one and a half years.

How will we be able to get out of this political impasse which we are facing now where no one MP is able to get majority support in the Dewan Rakyat?

In my speech in the Dewan Rakyat last month, I called for all politicians to discuss the possibility of signing a Covid moratorium agreement in order to focus our efforts on battling Covid-19 and saving the economy.

I think we are at a stage in the political process where this may not be so feasible now.

What is needed is a political game changer to be proposed and discussed by the political class in Malaysia, especially the leaders of all of the political parties which have elected MPs in the Dewan Rakyat.

The details of such a proposal must be able to capture the public imagination. It must be able to bring political leaders together to at least discuss the options on the table.

If such a proposal is significant enough, I am sure that the voters in my constituency would want me to ask the leaders in my political party and my political coalition to at least consider these proposals.

Time is running out. But there is still time.

Will the political leaders in Malaysia do what is right for the country?

Chances are slim but I hope that the trust deficits which exist among the political class can be overcome and that we can all come together for the sake of the country.

But someone has to make the first move and take the risk in good faith. And we will have to respond in good faith.

Ong Kian Ming is the Bangi MP.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of MalaysiaNow.