Parliament reopens July 26: Government relents and heeds Agong’s call, ending months-long impasse

It took the Yang di-Pertuan Agong three times to call for Parliament to reconvene before the government finally relented and revealed dates for a special sitting.

In a statement today, the Prime Minister’s Office said the Dewan Rakyat would sit for five days, between July 26 and Aug 2, while Dewan Negara would sit for three days, beginning Aug 3 to Aug 5.

The government has finally heeded the call by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah for Parliament to reconvene.

The Prime Minister’s Office, in a statement, said the Dewan Rakyat would sit for five days – from July 26-29, and on Aug 2 – while Dewan Negara would sit for three days (Aug 3-5).

The special sitting is to allow MPs to discuss the National Recovery Plan and to amend laws that would allow for a hybrid Parliament sitting.

Despite the country being in a state of emergency, which is scheduled to end on Aug 1, the Agong had, in February, said Parliament could resume.

On June 16, Al-Sultan Abdullah repeated his call for Parliament to reopen after chairing a special meeting with the Malay rulers at Istana Negara. The Malay rulers had also echoed the Agong’s call.

Again, on June 29, Al-Sultan Abdullah reiterated the need for Parliament to reopen as soon as possible. This was following his meeting with Senate president Tan Sri Rais Yatim, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun and their deputies at Istana Negara.

Pakatan Harapan, last week, had called on MPs of both sides of the divide to head over to Parliament on July 19 if the government failed to heed the Agong’s call – by today – to reopen the august house.

Here are Twentytwo13’s news highlights today.

MALAYSIA TO DELAY COVID-19 VACCINES FOR CHILDREN

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said Malaysia will delay vaccines for those aged 18 and below if they do not have any underlying illnesses.

He said real data has shown a low risk of inflammation of the heart in children – one in 15,000.

Dr Adham was speaking at his weekly Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) press conference with National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme coordinating minister, Khairy Jamaluddin.

He also said CITF’s target of fully vaccinating 10 per cent of the country’s population, or some 3.2 million, would be accomplished by the middle of this month. Until yesterday, eight per cent, or 2,618,316 people, had been fully vaccinated.

It was also revealed that those furthering their studies abroad would receive their vaccinations starting this month.

Malaysia recorded 6,387 new Covid-19 cases today. Selangor recorded the highest number of cases at 2,610, followed by Kuala Lumpur (819 cases) and Negeri Sembilan (523).

ONE MILLION DOSES OF COVID-19 VACCINES FROM THE U.S. ARRIVES TODAY

The United States’ donation of one million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine arrived at Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport today.

Malaysia is one of the first countries to receive vaccines under US President Joe Biden’s plan to donate 80 million doses of vaccines around the world.

The United States is the largest financial donor to Covax, the global vaccine-sharing partnership, with a US$4 billion financial pledge through 2022.

The United States also recently announced a landmark pledge to provide an additional 500 million vaccine doses to the world’s lowest-income nations via Covax.

US Ambassador to Malaysia, Brian McFeeters said: “We are committed to working with the Malaysian government to support the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme by increasing vaccine coverage and helping to achieve its target for recovery as quickly as possible.”

INCREASE ‘FINDING, TESTING, TRACING, ISOLATING AND SUPPORTING’ TO STOP COVID-19 SPREAD

Pakatan Harapan’s health committee has urged the Health Ministry to reform its public health management of the Covid-19 pandemic.

It said the ministry must increase ‘Finding, Testing, Tracing, Isolating and Supporting’ (FFTIS) of infected persons (especially the asymptomatic), which would reduce the spread of Covid-19.

The committee said through this strategy shift, the safe opening or rebooting of the country’s economy and livelihood could be realistically pursued, until such time, when herd immunity is achieved through a warp-speed vaccination programme.

SUNGAI GOLOK DRUG HAUL NETS NARCOTICS WORTH RM2.1M

Police seized 36kg of syabu and 8.4kg of heroin-based drugs worth some RM2.1 million from an abandoned house at Sungai Golok on July 3.

Kelantan deputy police chief SAC Abdullah Muhammad Piah, in a press conference today, said a team from the Tumpat district police headquarters found the drugs in two packages while patrolling the area.

The team had earlier spotted two men speeding off in a speed boat heading towards Takbai, Thailand.

DURIAN FARMERS NABBED FOR TRESPASSING PERMANENT FOREST RESERVE IN RAUB

Eighteen illegal durian farmers were detained by police today for trespassing into the Batu Talam permanent forest reserve in Raub yesterday. They were taken to the Raub police headquarters.

The suspects had also allegedly intimidated a Forestry Department enforcement team who were carrying out enforcement operations to clear illegal farms in the area.

The department, in a statement, said: “Throughout the operation, the department’s staff experienced a tough time facing the irate farmers. They had attempted to block the department’s vehicle from entering and leaving the operation site, and prevented the team from carrying out their duties.”

“The department lodged police reports and provided video recordings for further action. The Forestry Department’s investigating officers are continuing their probe on the illegal farmers (for trespassing).”

Save Musang King Alliance (Samka), in a statement, said the 18 farmers, which included its president Wilson Chang, were detained for investigations yesterday.