Science and public health must be apolitical when postponing Parliament - MHC
2 August 2021 KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Health Coalition (MHC) urged that any decision to postpone the Parliament of Malaysia must consider science and public health in apolitical terms. In a statement, MHC stressed that a functioning parliamentary democracy is an essential service, especially during a pandemic. While there must be appropriate public scrutiny, law-making and debates to find the broadest range of ideas to fight COVID-19, it added. "We recognise the stature and importance of the Parliament of Malaysia, and we believe it can be considered a workplace. "We can draw lessons from other workplaces that deliver essential services (like offices, banks, and factories), and follow the spirit of the National Recovery Plan. "Therefore, the Parliament of Malaysia can safely function if it follows the workplace SOPs recommended by the Ministry of Health, National Security Council, and Department of Occupational Safety & Health," said the group in a statement. Additionally, the majority of Members of Parliament are already vaccinated, and all entry into Parliament require a prior negative COVID-19 test; these measures provide protection for attendees. However, extra preventive steps can also be implemented to enable Parliamentary sittings, such as virtual or hybrid meetings and to vaccinate all parliamentary staff as soon as possible. "We need trust to deliver effective healthcare for all Malaysians. "Trust is built when decisions are consistent and when the Ministry of Health, its leaders, and all health professionals are ring-fenced from partisan politics. "Therefore, Science and public health must be apolitical, to preserve the Rakyat's trust."