Malaysian Parliament is an essential workplace – Hoe VC, Rampal S

The Malaysian Parliament is a very important workplace institution of this Country. The Rakyat need to hear the views of all parliamentarians in response to the various ongoing crises in Malaysia.

The COVID-19 disease will be with us for the foreseeable future. The Malaysian Parliament and the parliamentarians need to set a good example of ensuring the continuation of work and business during this pandemic in a safe environment. Standard operating procedures (SOP) should be enforced to ensure the safe continuation of the Parliament and its sittings.

The Parliament is a workplace environment, and everyone in it should follow workplace SOPs. Community linked cases will continue to occur. However, strict infection control and social measures are key to preventing COVID-19 transmission within the Parliament. Preventive infection control measures include appropriate face mask use and physical distancing. Social gatherings should not be allowed. As a measure of special precaution, for now, drinks and meals should be consumed individually. Everyone within the parliament premise must always follow the SOPs to decrease the risk of transmission within the Parliament.

In line with national SOPs, various locations within Parliament should also use MySejahtera QR codes for easier close contacts identification. Alternatively, geo-tagging contact tracing systems may be used to ensure the safety of all parliamentarians. Anonymized location data may be collected for more efficient close contact identification. Smarter automatized contact tracing systems should help reduce the risk of COVID-19  transmission within Parliament.

There are many examples we can follow to ensure that the Malaysia Parliament stays open, even with the high number of COVID-19 cases in the community. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals have never closed their doors as they follow strict standard operating procedures (SOP). SOP adherence is vital for effective prevention and control of the COVID-19 disease in the hospital.

Many essential workplaces continue to function despite the raging pandemic. The Malaysian Parliament is an essential workplace and should continue to function under very strict workplace SOPs.

Written by Prof Dr Victor Hoe and Prof Dr Sanjay Rampal.

The article is also published in the Star, Malay Mail, MySinChew, and CodeBlue.

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