Raggie Jessy Rithaudeen
مليسيا بوقتيكن ڤرليمين بوليه سيدڠ اونلاين
Malaysia successfully chaired the first ever Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Virtual Extraordinary Senior Officials’ Meeting (VESOM) on Covid-19.
The four-hour session, which began at 7pm yesterday, brought together 21 Apec Economies from eight different time zones on a single, virtual platform.
According to the 2020 Apec National Secretariat, the participation included all Apec Economies, the Apec Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and selected observers from international and regional organisations.
“VESOM focused on operationalising the Apec Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) Statement on Covid-19, issued earlier this month.
“Senior officials also heard from ABAC, as the Council offered its insights regarding the private sector’s role in mitigating the impact of the pandemic and hastening regional economic recovery,” the secretariat reportedly said.
You can read more about it in several news portals, including this semi-blog, where I have posted a news piece on the topic.
And that brings me to my point – if Malaysia can hold a meeting as important as VESCOM online, there shouldn’t be any problem to hold parliamentary meetings the same way.
The technology is available and has been available for a very long time and can be used to discuss many important issues, such as the passing of law to protect businesses that cannot meet contract deadlines due to Covid-19.
As a matter of fact, Britain’s parliament went online as early as on the 22nd of April 2020 to discuss Covid-19 which British parliamentarians felt needed immediate attention.
Here, we have Members of Parliament saying parliament needs to be postponed due to Covid-19, but at the same time, having no qualms discussing politics on their Facebooks or holding online sessions with moderators to discuss politics.
And while many businesses are suffering due to failures in meeting contractual deadlines, these MPs seem ok if priority is given to Government Linked Companies’ appointments while a small segment of their own constituents – the business segment – roughs it out.
Please stay objective.
My concern is not if Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will or will not call for a vote of no confidence. My concern is the fact that the Government of Malaysia has the capacity and reason to convene parliamentary sittings.