Anwar, Azmin clash in Parliament as Miti’s ‘backdoor approvals’ accused of fuelling Covid-19 disaster

Anwar also condemned the government for only announcing today its decision to annul regulations under the Emergency Ordinances which came into effect July 21. — Bernama pic
Anwar also condemned the government for only announcing today its decision to annul regulations under the Emergency Ordinances which came into effect July 21. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 26 — Tempers flared between Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali today when the former claimed high numbers of Covid-19 infections came from the manufacturing sector.

Anwar, who is also the Port Dickson MP, said the approvals given by Azmin’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) to allow the manufacturing sector to operate despite a nationwide lockdown was a disaster for the country that contributed to the spike in cases.

“We all have to follow the standard operating procedures, but among the disasters that we have faced is how Miti gave approval through the backdoor to anyone interested.

“In the end it caused huge [Covid-19] clusters, including factory clusters, and I am sure the deputy prime minister can verify this,” he said, referring to Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who before his promotion had handled all Covid-19 enforcement and security measures.

Following Anwar’s assertion, Azmin stood up seeking clarification, then telling his former PKR colleague to make sure his claims are backed by facts.

Azmin: I want to ask for an explanation from Port Dickson. If you want to speak use facts and the correct data, I have the data here.

Anwar: Just wait for your floor and answer, stop thinking about the commissions, think about the people.

Azmin (while holding up a pie chart printout): Only 8.8 per cent [of Covid-19 clusters] are from the manufacturing sector!

Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon then interjected and told Anwar that his 10 minutes to speak was up.

Earlier during his address, Anwar also condemned the government for only announcing today its decision to annul regulations under the Emergency Ordinances which came into effect July 21.

The PKR president asserted that such major policy decisions must be tabled, debated, and passed through by Members of Parliament, and not to be made at one's own whims and fancy.

He said an improvised announcement made by de facto law minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan earlier today to seemingly avoid lengthy debates in Parliament could even amount to treason against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

“It’s unprecedented. Major policy decisions like this must be made in Parliament so that we can acknowledge and agree to it, but this never happened.

“I am also worried that we have reached a level of having a constitutional crisis, where we all know about the statements made by the Malay Rulers and the Agong, but I am not sure if the matter announced by the [law] minister was ever presented to the King or was it decreed for because it was never clarified.

“It cannot be as easy as saying, “okay, today we have announced the Emergency”, and then the next session we come in and they say, “oh, we have voided it last week”.

“Are we in a pasar malam? I want to see the documents and if this was not done [properly] that is a huge blunder,” he added, using the Malay term for night markets.

Anwar was delivering his address in response to an explanation of the country’s National Recovery Plan presented earlier by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

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