KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 — The Ministry of Education (MOE) and Ministry of Higher Education’s (MOHE) plans for the country’s students to cope with Covid-19 must be presented in the special parliamentary meeting on pandemic-related issues next week, said a Pakatan Harapan (PH) panel.

The PH Education Committee (JKPPH) also expressed its disappointment today that the Parliament Secretary’s recent circular on the special meeting did not include education in the agenda.

It said this was unacceptable as the government’s plans for educating the country’s young generation within the pandemic must be made known to the public.

“This (special) meeting is very important for the rakyat, through their MPs, to find out the government’s plans concerning the issue of education through presentations reporting the current situation of the country’s education system, and plans that have been drafted by the MOE and MOHE. 

“JKPPH is also of the view that issues about education, whether about schools or universities during the Covid-19 outbreak, are as important as issues of health, security, and the economy, and must be brought up as an agenda in the upcoming sitting,” the committee said in a statement.

It then made two recommendations to the government, the first for MOE and MOHE to be included as part of the sitting’s agenda for the ministries to inform the people on their plans for the future. 

The next was for federal lawmakers to be given the opportunity to discuss and debate the ministries’ proposals for the areas of education under their control.

The committee asserted that Malaysians’ faith in the government was declining, which it said was in part due to the two ministries’ apparent lack of direction in managing the country’s education systems.

“The absence of presentations from these two ministries in the special Parliamentary meeting will only solidify this view,” they added. 

The statement was undersigned by former education minister Maszlee Malik, his former deputy Teoh Nie Ching, Setiawangsa MP Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, Tamping MP Datuk Hasan Bahrom, Sekijang MP Natrah Ismail, Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim Chee Keong, and Tangga Batu MP Rusnah Aluai. 

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) announced on July 5 that the government has agreed to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to convene a special five-day meeting of the Dewan Rakyat from July 26 to 29 and August 2, and over three days at the Dewan Negara from August 3 to August 5.

The PMO said the special meeting was to brief MPs about the National Recovery Plan as well as to amend all the necessary laws and rules to enable hybrid Parliament sittings, and with the proclamations of Emergency and Emergency ordinances to be laid before Parliament.

Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon has since said there was a proposal for a maximum of 80 MPs allowed at any one time in the Dewan Rakyat during the special sittings.

Mohd Rashid said the Dewan Rakyat committee had suggested this limit, and that the political parties’ chief whips would discuss this with a decision expected soon as there is about one week before the Dewan Rakyat reconvenes from July 26.