Opposition MPs stage walkout following presence of three MPs under quarantine

KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition lawmakers staged a walkout from the Dewan Rakyat after the Speaker allowed three MPs who are supposed to be observing home quarantine to vote on Budget 2021 allocations for the Federal Territories Ministry.

Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had requested Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun to explain the presence of the three MPs.

Azhar explained a lawmaker had come to vote in the Dewan last Thursday (Dec 10) and did not follow the quarantine orders.

"I do not want it to happen again and that is why it is better for me to regulate," he said on Monday (Dec 14).

Meanwhile a bloc vote called by the Opposition, was held with 110 ayes, seven nays, 31 abstained and 72 absentees. This subsequently led to the passing of the ministry's budget at the committee stage.

Several Opposition lawmakers had raised concerns over the presence of the three lawmakers and the health threat they posed.

Meanwhile, Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong posted a picture of the three MPs clad in full PPEs.

The three MPs - Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba (BN-Tenggara), Datuk Seri M. Saravanan (BN-Tapah) and P. Prabakaran (PH-Batu) - were seen seated at the highest floor of the House, away from other MPs.

They were clad in full white aprons, along with a blue shower cap and a visor.

“It’s a new norm in the Dewan Rakyat!” Dr Wee said.

“The three had requested permission from the health director-general to attend the voting session in Parliament, ” he added.

Separately, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law) Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah had used his powers under Section 15 of Act 342 to provide special clearance for the three MPs to be present for the voting process in Parliament.

“The Opposition’s walkout either shows they do not understand or they could no longer stand (the proceedings).”

Sungai Petani MP Datuk Johari Abdul, who is PKR whip, said the Opposition walkout was to protest the double-standards.

"How can this be when the rakyat under quarantine are subject to a different set of rules from that imposed on MPs," he said at a press conference in Parliament's media centre.

Pokok Sena MP Datuk Mahfuz Omar, who is Parti Amanah Negara whip, said that the presence of the three MPs had exposed other MPs in the House to the risk of infection.

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