KUALA LUMPUR: Constituents can write in to Parliament to check on the attendance of their respective MPs, says Deputy Speaker Datuk Rashid Hasnon.
“They can write in to us and we will inform that particular MP that his or her name was handpicked to be checked on their attendance, ” he said to reporters when met at Parliament lobby on Monday (Oct 21).
However, Rashid conceded that it isn’t appropriate for the Parliament to publicly reveal the attendance of MPs.
“We can get their names, but it isn’t proper for us to spread their names. Whomever wants to know (about MPs attendance), they can meet the Parliament management, ” he said.
Pressed further by reporters, Rashid said that in his opinion, names of MPs who are frequently absent could be publicly revealed.
“In my opinion, it can be done once in a while for awareness to MPs, and this can be brought up in our discussions, ” he added.
This was following an incident in Parliament last Thursday (Oct 17), where proceedings on a debate on Budget 2020 was halted temporarily when there was a lack of quorum in the House.
Under Standing Order 13, there must be at least 26 MPs in the 222-seat Dewan to allow proceedings to be held.
Bera MP Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri, who’s also Opposition chief whip, lamented the recent trend of absent MPs, particularly during crucial debates on Budget 2020.
Rashid defended the absent MPs, saying that most of them were in the vicinity of Parliament, but were just not present in the House where proceedings are taking place.
Pressed further over the matter, Rashid said that incidences of a lack of quorum in the House seldom took place in Malaysia.
“Many other countries have higher amount of quorums. Ours is only 26 MPs, and among their justifications is that there were loudspeakers across the vicinity in the Parliament.
“I hope MPs will not be absent just because they can listen to the proceedings from the cafeteria, and I want them to always be present in Parliament, ” he said.
Rashid also said he hoped the sergeant-at-arms in Parliament will assist in counting the number of MPs present in the House.
“If the amount of MPs is low, the Speaker can demand the sergeant-at-arms to request for MPs sitting outside to come inside the House.
“It is important for an adequate quorum in the House for debates, ” he said.
On July 23 last year, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad expressed his dissatisfaction over the attendance of his Cabinet members and their deputies in Parliament.
On July 26 last year, Rashid reprimanded ministers and deputy ministers for their absence in Parliament.
On Oct 26 last year, Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Arrif Md Yusof ordered the House to stand down, after Kapit MP Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi noted that there was a lack of quorum.