Barriers set up to ensure distancing in Dewan Rakyat

August house: Transparent barriers installed between the seats of MPs to curb the spread of Covid-19. — Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: Temporary transparent panels have been installed between the seats of lawmakers in the Dewan Rakyat to enable some of them to sit in the main block in the House.

Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said the panels would also help create a safe distance and reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmissions.

“However, some MPs would still need to occupy the officers’ seating area as only some of these panels could be installed for now.

“As such, I ask for the patience of the MPs until this matter can be resolved, ” she told lawmakers before the commencement of the Question and Answer Time in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

Azalina also said the remaining panels would be installed by next week.

She also reminded lawmakers to wear a face mask at all times in the House and to remove it only when they want to speak.

“Honourable members, you are to pull the transparent barriers (into place) when seated in the hall to ensure distancing and no close contact with other members.

“The transparent panel has to be pulled or pushed carefully and slowly, and not be given too much pressure because it is installed as a temporary measure, ” said Azalina, who also thanked the Cabinet, various ministries, the National Security Council and Parliament for accommodating the measure for the comfort of lawmakers.

In the beginning of the Dewan Rakyat meeting, only 174 of the 222 MPs were allowed to sit in the main block while the rest sat in the public gallery, as well as the area where officers were usually seated, to allow for sufficient physical distancing as part of the standard operating procedure to fight Covid-19.

However, many lawmakers seated at the public gallery and officers’ area complained they were unable to debate or ask questions properly due to the lack of microphones there.

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