PETALING JAYA: MPs will be subjected to more stringent Covid-19 preventive measures beginning tomorrow when the Dewan Rakyat sits again.
“These Yang Berhormat will be seated at their usual place but with a transparent cubicle-like divider, while each of them is required to wear a face mask when they are not speaking, ” said Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun.
He said this was decided following meetings with de facto law minister Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan, former deputy speaker Nga Kor Ming, Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali and the parliament secretary, among others.
“The first batch of about 50 dividers will be ready for use next week.
“Hopefully, this will at least solve the seating of about 25 MPs who are now in the public gallery.
“The rest will come a week later. God-willing, ” he told The Star.
Azhar, better known as Art Harun, said he had personally taken an interest in this issue since he took office as Speaker.
“Matters pertaining to MPs’ comfort and convenience have to be addressed immediately, in my opinion, ” he said.
Azhar said MPs were initially placed at the public gallery upon discussions with party whips, but a majority of them found it to be unsuitable.
MPs who sat at the public gallery would not have a microphone at their seats, hence they would need to go to a specially prepared area to pose their questions or debate.
“I tried my best, especially in trying to house the MPs who were and still are in the public gallery, because it’s quite difficult for them to be noticed and for them to speak or intervene, ” he said.
Azhar thanked those involved in providing input on the new regulations, as well as MPs, who had been patient and cooperative.
“I must thank the Health Ministry, the law ministry, the Finance Ministry, my parliament chief administrator, parliament secretary, Nga and everyone else who were involved in this.
“Also, all the party whips for all their input and the MPs who have been very patient and cooperative, ” he said.
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