Agong’s ‘body of subject matter experts’ can replace Cabinet

Agong’s ‘body of subject matter experts’ can replace Cabinet.

Gov’t, on paper, can do whatever it wants unless restrained by court, Agong.

There’s the little matter of the numbers game in Parliament. Let’s not go there. No one, albeit on paper, has the numbers.

The gov’t, on paper, can do whatever it wants unless restrained by the court or the Agong. The court can only restrain gov’t on a case by case basis.

The Agong can restrain gov’t by either withdrawing the delegation of executive authority to the Prime Minister, and Cabinet, or by appointing a new Prime Minister based on the confidence factor i.e. the Agong’s confidence that the lawmaker can get gov’t Bills through Parliament.

In the latter case, appointment of a new PM, there’s no guarantee that history may not repeat itself.

The Agong can also delegate executive authority to another person like Director of Operations, or body of persons like subject matter experts headed by a Chairman. Article 39 of the Federal Constitution provides for this possibility.

Former Interim Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s proposed National Recovery Council (NRC) may be considered by the Agong within this context.

Mahathir has since disclosed in the media that the proposed NRC would be raised in Parliament when it reconvenes on Mon 26 July. Mahathir wants the NRC to go through Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s National Recovery Plan (NRP) which was announced on Tues 15 June.

It may be sheer coincidence that the NRC was proposed in response to the NRP. Again, the NRC may have already been hatched before the NRP. The jury may not be out on whether Mahathir and Muhyiddin have always been working together.

Mahathir’s long-delayed Pejuang Party has since been finally approved by the Home Minister after the court gave him two weeks. All this may have been sandiwara (Sanskrit for drama).

There are shades of the National Operations Council (NOC) from 1969 on the NRC.

The NOC, set up in the wake of the 13 May 1969 disturbances in Kuala Lumpur, was headed by Prime Minister Abdul Razak Hussein as Director of Operations. Democracy, elections, and Parliament were suspended for five years until “political stability” was restored.

The proposed NRC would be a different creature and working, ostensibly, on managing the pandemic and bringing it under control, and economic recovery.

The NRC, on the plus side, would depoliticise the pandemic.

At present, no one is sure where politics ends and the pandemic begins, where politics ends, and good gov’t begins.

Already, Opposition states are reporting the highest number of virus cases in the country. Testing and contact tracing has been stepped up in these states.

The more the testing done, the more the number of virus cases detected, many reportedly showing no symptoms.

If gov’t isn’t restrained by Agong soon, the revenue situation will determine and dictate the Agenda on the Way Forward.

Again, if gov’t isn’t restrained by revenue either, insolvency awaits.

The World Bank, IMF, ADB and the treasuries of rich countries will come marching in like the American 7th Calvary, in old western movies from Hollywood, which rescued settler families from having their scalps taken by Native Indian tribes.

If revenue is at risk, the gov’t will have no choice but sing a different tune on the pandemic viz. live with the virus, treat it like a bad Flu, and accept annual shots. This is already happening in S’pore and the UK.

Covid-19 can no longer be listed as a cause of death.

All cause of death in the medical certificate of death has to be based on the post-mortem report.

800 people die daily in M’sia of various causes vis-a-vis 8K in the US, 24K in India and 30K in China, to cite a few examples from world mortality figures reported by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and many bodies.

The vaccination drive can only continue. It can shift directions and embark on house to house visits for the shot in the arm. The focus on 70 per cent fully vaccinated for herd immunity cannot stop. Vaccine hesitancy will always be there.

The gov’t will have to stop lockdown. We will no longer hear about MCO (Movement Control Order), CMCO (conditional), EMCO (enhanced) and other combinations in the alphabet soup.

The gov’t will no doubt stop testing and contact tracing, and issuing daily reports on virus cases. Self-isolation for contacts and quarantine for those with symptoms will continue.

Journalism may be about bad news. Even so, media reports on the pandemic will die a natural death even as new variants emerge. Soon, the virus will probably run out of Greek alphabets.

The onus on the SOP will lie on the people and premises. Health Dept officials, accompanied by police and RELA, will no longer mete out compound fines for violating the SOP.

MySejahtera will exist and carry the vaccination certificate. There will be no gov’t compulsion to use it. Premises can make MySejahtera mandatory.

Until the gov’t decides to live with the virus, the people will suffer unbearable hardships, suicides will increase exponentially, bankruptcies soar, and cases flood the courts.

Again, until the gov’t decides to live with the virus, it will focus on the allocation of resources and generating revenue as core strategies.

Elsewhere, it publicly fears the public healthcare system will collapse and implode.

In fact, this has not happened anywhere in the world including in India where the highly contagious Delta variant first emerged.

Hospitals have a self-adjusting mechanism which manages numbers. They can always tell patients to go home.

The gov’t claims that lockdown are necessary to keep CV-19 related hospitalisation at a manageable level. There’s a lack of openness, transparency and accountability on hospitalisation. Politics must stop outside the hospitals, science and data begin.

It’s not a must that breathing difficulty cases must be in ICU. In India, they were given two cylinders of oxygen and told to go home.

ICU facilities are more needed for non-CV-19 related cases like after surgery.

Author: fernzthegreat

Joe Fernandez holds a honours degree in management, majoring in economics, and has opted from academia in law to being a jurist. He was trained professionally on the job as a journalist. He's a longtime Borneo watcher, keen on the history and legal aspects of Malaya's presence in Sabah and Sarawak. He teaches the English language privately and has emerged as a subject matter expert in public examination techniques.

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