Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker: Parliament has facilities, ready for hybrid sitting

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): Parliament has adequate facilities to implement a hybrid Dewan Rakyat sitting at any time if necessary, says Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon.

"Of course we are prepared and the existing facilities are adequate, we are making additions to implement it (a hybrid sitting),” he said, adding that Parliament was also in the process of finalising other technical aspects required.

Mohd Rashid added that while a date has yet to be set for the Dewan Rakyat to convene, it will follow the Standing Orders which sets a need for a 28-day notice to be given before a sitting can convene.

"We leave it to the discretion of the Leader of the House for its implementation,” he said.

He said the implementation of a hybrid Parliament sitting is a new norm and it was not impossible that it would go down as a historical moment for Malaysia as it faces the Covid-19 pandemic.

"It also represents a new challenge for the Speaker as we will be dealing with monitors to look at MPs,” he said.

Mohd Rashid said if a hybrid Dewan Rakyat sitting does happen, there will be several Standing Orders that require amendments, including the voting process, and all amendments required will be included as an addendum to the existing Standing Orders.

"One more example, the Parliament refers to the Federal Constitution Article 62 Parliamentary Procedure. In 62(5) it is stated that members who do not attend a Parliamentary sitting are not allowed to vote. But if we refer to 62(1) it is subject to this Parliamentary provision and provisions of federal laws, that every Parliamentary sitting needs to regulate its own protocols,” he said.

When asked about how many MPs need to be present in the Dewan Rakyat if the amendments are to be passed, Mohd Rashid said the minimum number for a quorum is 26 MPs.

Previously, the Dewan Rakyat (with the Speaker’s ruling) had set a maximum of 80 MPs (in the Dewan Rakyat) but the actual total and method are still in the final stages of discussion. - Bernama

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