Thursday, January 21

Dr Yii: Covid-19 testing for East Malaysian MPs to attend Parliament may not be productive

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Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING: The federal government’s directive requiring that all MPs are to undergo Covid-19 testing on May 14 or 15 as a prerequisite to attend the one-day Parliament sitting on May 18 may not be productive for parliamentarians from East Malaysia, says Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii.

For one, he said extra resources may need to be used particularly when MPs from Sarawak and Sabah have to fly to Kuala Lumpur much earlier to get themselves tested for Covid-19 just to convene at Parliament for one day.

“Furthermore, flights to Kuala Lumpur are very limited and costly. On top of that, if we are to take all the necessary precautions, we will also need to be quarantined the moment we reach Kuala Lumpur to undergo the Covid-19 testing and also be transported to the Parliament sitting and then back to airport for our flight back.

“Once we reach Sarawak, based on the current standard operating procedure, we will need to be quarantined for a further 14 days,” he said in a statement today.

Dr Yii, who confirmed that he had received a letter today signed by Dewan Rakyat secretary Reduan Rahmat on the matter, pointed out that he welcomed all the necessary precautions that need to be taken before the Parliament sitting.

“I will abide by any directive by the Health Department as we will never compromise the safety of fellow Sarawakians but this will compromise our effects to serve our constituency during this tough time simply for a ceremonial single day Parliament setting.

“All these will be extra resources to the government especially during a tough economic season such as this. I strongly believe that the resources can be better spent and more creative ways can be done for the sitting just like how it was done in countries such as the UK, Japan, Australia where they utilised modern technology including video-conferencing to carry out their Parliament sitting.

“Singapore even drafted a Bill and will be tabling it to make sure that Parliament can continue to function without the need of in-person attendance in Parliament,” he said.

He stressed that the current federal government should not be afraid to face Parliament and should instead extend the Parliament sitting to at least two weeks or even ten days so that all important questions can be asked and the government of the day can be kept in check especially during such an extraordinary time.

“If not, it will not be a good use of the government’s precious resources for us to fly over if we cannot properly bring the voice of our people to Parliament,” he said.