It was Tuesday, July 27, 2021.
After months of Dewan Rakyat being closed due to the Emergency, a special meeting of the Third Session of the 14th Parliament was held that week to much anticipation from voters.
It was already fireworks on the first day on Monday, befitting of MPs who had waited months to direct their grouses to the government. Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun was accused of treason. Prime Minister Mahiaddin Yassin was grilled over his recovery plan for dealing with COVID-19. Two MPs and several Parliament staff were found to be positive from the coronavirus.
On top of that, then law minister Takiyuddin Hassan confounded the country by claiming that Emergency laws were already revoked five days earlier – despite no such announcement ever been made. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong would later dispute this.
Tuesday, slated for discussions on several health-related matters including COVID-19, promised the same excitement. It did not disappoint.
Several Opposition MPs on this day argued for the government to bend over backwards to allow general practitioners (GPs) to prescribe the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin for COVID-19 prevention and treatment, much to the consternation of their colleagues.
"A minister has the power to overrule the power of NPRA," Sivarasa Rasiah (PKR-Sungai Buloh) said as recorded in the Hansard, referring to the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency, that decides whether a drug is safe to use nationwide.
"[People's] lives are the responsibility of the minister. Lives that will be lost because of you ― are on your head," he added, to then health minister Dr Adham Baba.
The special sitting did not even last a week. Chaos would later break out on Thursday.
The Muhyiddin administration would later be forced to step down, after UMNO pulled out its support, arguably due to the dispute with the Agong. Predictably, UMNO would then rise to lead a new government, made up of the same faces.
But that pro-ivermectin incident in Parliament would later lead to:
• its advocates renewing their push for Putrajaya to immediately allow the use of ivermectin, despite an ongoing clinical trial
• an attack on mRNA vaccines such as Pfizer-BioNTech's Comirnaty, later citing its falling effectiveness against the Delta variant
• opposition to mandatory vaccinations for students, and the relaxation of restrictions to fully-vaccinated individuals
• an attempt by the pro-ivermectin/anti-vaxxer coalition to evolve into a political lobby
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