MEMBERS of Parliament attending the Dewan Rakyat meeting were given a briefing by Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof (pic) on the standard operating procedure (SOP) regarding the Covid-19 pandemic.
During the morning session before he was replaced, Mohamad Ariff outlined 11 measures for lawmakers to comply with when the House was in session.
He said there were 87 MPs aged 60 and above, hence they were considered a high-risk group.
Among the measures are that the MPs wear a face mask at all times while in the House and only remove it when they want to ask questions or to take part in the debates.
Other measures include observing physical distancing and lawmakers should sit one metre apart from one another.
This means not all 222 MPs would be able to sit together in their usual seats as before.
Mohamad Ariff said only 174 lawmakers would be able to sit in the seats for MPs, while the remaining MPs would sit at the public gallery and the sitting area for officers and civil servants.
He added that lawmakers may experience some discomfort due to the sitting arrangements.
“Those sitting in the main gallery might have some discomfort as your leg will be hitting the dividers due to social distancing, ” he told the MPs.
“However, I believe that shouldn’t be a problem.”
Mohamad Ariff also said that those sitting in the public gallery and officers’ sitting area would not have microphones at their seats, hence they would need to go to a specially prepared area nearby to pose their questions or debate.
Port Dickson MP Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim interjected and suggested that Parliament provide a cordless microphone for these MPs.
This suggestion was seconded by Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan).
Mohamad Ariff also said that there could be some discomfort with the implementation of the SOP, but it was for the benefit of everyone present.
“I hope that all MPs will cooperate and follow the SOP.
“Let’s pray and hope that the Covid-19 pandemic can be curbed completely and will not be a threat to us, ” he said.