Decision to allow MPs under home quarantine to vote in Dewan Rakyat in line with Health Ministry SOPs, says Speaker

KUALA LUMPUR: The decision to allow MPs currently observing home quarantine orders to be present in Parliament for the voting process was a new SOP set by Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, said Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun (pic).

“I did not change the SOPs. I was just following SOPs by the Health Ministry and Dr Noor Hisham, ” said Azhar in Parliament on Monday (Dec 14).

He was responding to Kelvin Yii (PH-Bandar Kuching), who asked Azhar to state the rationale behind allowing MPs exposed to Covid-19 to attend Parliament to cast their vote on the allocations of various ministries under Budget 2021.

Azhar said there were MPs who complained about not being given an ample opportunity to participate in Parliamentary debates on Budget 2021.

“So for voting, it is relaxed and all MPs are allowed to be present, ” he added.

Azhar also said that MPs undergoing home quarantine would need to request approval from Dr Noor Hisham to be present in Parliament for the voting process.

“If they are allowed to be present, they must adhere to the SOPs set by Dr Noor Hisham, not me.”

Azhar said he was understood that three MPs namely Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba (BN-Tenggara), Datuk Seri M. Saravanan (BN-Tapah) and P. Prabakaran (PH-Batu) have requested to be present in Parliament.

He said the three MPs will be clad in personal protective equipment (PPE) and they will be brought to the Parliament by an ambulance.

Azhar added that the three will also be held in a special room before the voting process commences, added Azhar.

“If they want to vote, they need to wear new PPE and enter through the gallery. Their votes will be taken and vote-counters must wear visors.

“After voting, they will then leave the public area because we want to limit their contact with others (in Parliament), ” said Azhar

Yii subsequently asked Azhar whether the new ruling to compel MPs undergoing home quarantine to be clad in PPE was in line with Standing Orders 41(F), which stated the dress code for male and females respectively.

“I will have to allow this then (new PPE ruling for MPs undergoing home quarantine), ” said Azhar, and Datuk Mahfuz Omar (PH-Pokok Sena) then stood up and asked whether everyone attending Parliament should be compelled to wear PPE.

Azhar said he intends to enforce regulations on such MPs who would like to be present in Parliament to cast their vote.

“This is their right to vote and we know many would like to be present to cast their vote. So, we will regulate this. There is no need to politicise health matters, ” Azhar added.

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