‘MPs can seek clarifications during special meeting’


KOTA BARU: MPs can seek clarifications and give their views during the special meeting starting on July 26, says Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) said the matter had been conveyed to all MPs through a special notice dated July 15.

“So there is no one-sided explanation or just listening to briefings. That’s not true,” he said when met by reporters at his parliamentary service centre here yesterday.

Takiyuddin said among the matters to be discussed were the Proclamation of Emergency on Jan 11 this year and the Emergency ordinances to be tabled at the lower and upper houses of Parliament.

“With regard to the method used such as the duration given to the MPs, it is up to the Speaker,” he added.

When asked how the Dewan Rakyat meeting would be implemented, Takiyuddin said in principle, it would be held physically.

“However, it will depend on the standard operating procedure. This has yet to be decided by health authorities,” he said.

Separately, Perikatan Nasional Backbenchers chairman Datuk Seri Dr Shahidan Kassim said he would attend the five-day meeting if strict SOP was imposed.

“The Delta variant is contagious. I will attend if there are strict SOP,” he said.

Shahidan said Parliament was still bound by the regulations under the National Recovery Plan such as attending large gatherings.

“The same rules should apply to the people and MPs as well,” he added.

Dewan Rakyat will hold a special meeting between July 26 and Aug 2.

The five-day meeting will, among others, see a motion to amend Standing Orders to allow future hybrid Parliament meetings.

Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah questioned the limit on MPs in the august House as all lawmakers have been fully vaccinated.

“We should allow all MPs to attend. Last year, I can accept this ruling as we were not vaccinated then.

“Now, it is different. I don’t see why we need to follow the previous arrangement,” she said.

Maria also said all MPs and Parliament staff would have to undergo Covid-19 screening this Friday.

During the previous Dewan Rakyat meeting between October to December last year, physical presence of MPs was limited to 80% out of the total of 222 MPs.

This was due to the required physical distancing which also saw each seat for an MP separated by plexiglass barriers.

MPs were only allowed into the House when voting was called on a Bill or a motion.

Klang MP Charles Santiago said there should be tighter SOP to ensure the safety of all during the meetings.

“The Delta variant is extremely contagious with reports saying that it takes only 15 seconds of exposure to infect a person. We must be very careful,” he said.

However, he lamented the lack of time during the special meeting to allow MPs to ask questions over the handling of Covid-19 by the government.

Santiago suggested bi-partisan Parliament Select Committees to be set up to tackle issues related to SMEs, healthcare and the community.

On Thursday, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun announced that the fourth session of the 14th Parliament would meet for 15 days from Sept 6 until 30.

The next session will last for 32 days beginning Oct 25 until Dec 16.

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