Special five-day Parliament sitting gets underway, two MPs test positive for Covid-19, says Speaker

PETALING JAYA: Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun has confirmed that two MPs and 12 Parliament staff have tested positive for Covid-19, while another 58 Parliament staff and five or six MPs are under home quarantine.

He said this after kicking off the special five-day sitting of Dewan Rakyat at 10am on Monday (July 26), whereby lawmakers will be briefed on the National Recovery Plan today.

Azhar said following the positive test results, he had held a coordinating meeting on Monday (July 26) morning to ask the views of Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah on the current Covid-19 situation and how they could hold the Parliament sitting safely.

"We have yet to finalise the decision whether to limit the number of attendance at any one time and also the duration of the sitting, we are still waiting for agreement from the opposition," he said.

While waiting for a new decision, the initial decision made by the House Committee on Friday (July 23) to not limit the number of attendance in the hall as well as having the meeting adjourn at 5.30pm as normal still stands, said Azhar.

"However, I want to ask for cooperation from all party chiefs so that we can rotate the attendance in this hall every hour because the Health director-general is very concerned about the spread of Covid-19 in Parliament.

"For everyone's knowledge, 12 Parliament staff members are positive and 58 staff members are under quarantine as they are close contacts.

"Two MPs are positive while five or six others are under quarantine," he said.

Previously, Bagan Datuk MP Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Nibong Tebal MP Datuk Mansor Othman have confirmed that they are positive.

They are both fully vaccinated and are asymptomatic, and will not be in Parliament.

Azhar again asked for party leaders to give cooperation by ensuring that lawmakers rotate their attendance every hour and also encouraged everyone to wear double masks, citing the risks of the airborne Delta variant.

This is the first time that Dewan Rakyat has convened since adjourning December last year after passing Budget 2021.

It was supposed to convene in March for the opening of the First Meeting of the Fourth Session of the 4th Parliament this year but meeting was suspended following the Emergency Proclamation on Jan 12, which is set to end on Aug 1.

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