,COVID-19 | Any confusion that arises surrounding the enforcement of Covid-19 standard operating procedure (SOP) could have been avoided with a debate of the related legislation in Parliament, according to the Pakatan Harapan secretariat.In a statement today, the secretariat represented by PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil, Amanah communications director Khalid Samad and DAP deputy political education director Ong Kian Ming, said Harapan MPs are committed to cooperating with the federal government and other state governments to improve the procedures. "The rationale to not call for a Parliament sitting in order to facilitate amendments of existing laws - intended to assist in controlling Covid-19 infections - has been proven untrue."Therefore we urge the Parliament to urgently reconvene and as a way to save the country, both from the health and economic perspective, by drafting more effective laws and policies."Without Parliament's accountability, we fear existing problems will continue," they said in voicing support for a recent statement by David Gurupatham, spokesperson for Industries Unite, a group representing 110 business associations with 3.3 million members.The Harapan secretariat noted that among issues raised by Industries Unite includes the legality of compounds issued for any SOP breach, heavy-handed approach by authorities, confusing SOPs and overall impact on businesses.At the same time, they urged the government to provide statistical evidence and rationale behind its change of policies, for example, to increase the compound amount from RM1,000 to RM10,000."What is the government's evidence to show that the previous RM1,000 compound was not effective to help reduce Covid-19 infections?"And what had made the government believe that increasing it to RM10,000 and RM50,000 for companies will be more effective?" they asked. Further, they called on the government to reveal how data collected through MySejahtera check-ins were used to trace and identify potential Covid-19 positive cases, and infection hotspots."Another example, in November last year, it was revealed in Parliament that only four percent of Covid-19 patients were traced using the MySejahtera application," they said.On Wednesday, the cabinet once again amended the fines for SOP violations, from a blanket amount to a tiered quantum, with a maximum of RM10,000 and RM50,000 The current Parliament session was scheduled to convene for a month from March 8 but it has since been suspended indefinitely under the current emergency laws. Calls for Parliament to reconvene have been growing louder, not only from the opposition bench but also from government backbenchers, including Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who earlier today said it is now safe enough for sittings to be held. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had said the emergency was necessary to combat the Covid-19 pandemic but critics accused him of trying to block Parliament after losing his majority in the House.Since then, Muhyiddin had regained his simple majority after another three PKR MPs defected to his side. The prime minister had also given his assurance that he will hold elections once the pandemic is brought under control.
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