KUALA LUMPUR: A heated exchange took place in the Dewan Rakyat after an Opposition MP accused Umno lawmaker Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim of not wearing a mask when the latter attended a large gathering in support of Datuk Seri Najib Razak earlier in the day.
RSN Rayer (PH-Jelutong) said Abdul Azeez (BN-Baling) were putting fellow MPs' health at risk.
He pointed out that certain MPs present outside the Duta Court Complex on Tuesday (July 28) had not worn a mask at the gathering to show solidarity with the former prime minister on the day the High Court delivered its verdict in the SRC International trial.
“Those pictures went viral on social media and among them included Baling (MP), ” said Rayer.
Abdul Azeez immediately stood up and denied Rayer’s allegation while holding a piece of face mask, saying: "I wore a mask. Don’t try to lie here."
Rayer then asked Deputy Speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said if the standard operating procedure relating to Covid-19 should be abided by parliamentarians.
In response, Azalina said Rayer should raise the matter with the Speaker as she noted that a debate on the Royal Address was ongoing then.
“The Speaker can raise this with the director in charge of Parliament security, ” she added.
Rayer was adamant about highlighting Abdul Azeez's presence at the gathering "without a face mask".
“Isn’t it more important to look after our health?” Rayer asked.
Ngeh Koo Ham (PH-Beruas) then intervened to say he would like to assist Azalina, who immediately cut him short.
“Wait, Beruas. Beruas, you are a former state speaker, let me answer one by one; if I need help, I will ask you, ” said Azalina.
The Pengerang MP then questioned Rayer which Standing Orders he was citing when interrupting proceedings.
“Can you please enlighten me, YB? Because there are still many pending debates, ” Azalina added.
The Jelutong MP replied that it wasn't necessary for him to cite Standing Orders as he said the matter he raised involved everyone's safety in Parliament.
Azalina suggested that Rayer refer the matter to the director in charge of parliament security and the sergeant-at-arms as she was only in charge of chairing parliamentary proceedings.
“I’m worried for your health and safety, ” he said.
Azalina thanked Rayer but maintained that her ruling was final over the matter.
“My decision based on (Standing Order) 43 is final. I don’t want to use (Standing Order) 44. Please sit down. Now I invite Tenom, ” she said before allowing Noorita Sual (PH-Tenom) to speak.
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