PETALING JAYA: The special Dewan Rakyat sitting tomorrow has been postponed indefinitely due to the risk of Covid-19 transmission in Parliament House.
In a notice to MPs issued yesterday, Dewan Rakyat secretary Nizam Mydin Bacha Mydin said Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun was informed by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin of the postponement of the special sitting in accordance with the advice of Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
“The special sitting of the third session of the 14th Parliament for Dewan Rakyat on Monday, Aug 2, will be postponed to a date to be determined later. This was decided by the Prime Minister based on Standing Order 11(3).
“This postponement is in accordance with the proposal by the Health director-general and the evaluation of the risk assessment by the Health Ministry, whereby following the latest spread of Covid-19 infections, the ministry is of the view that Parliament House is a locality of risk for the possible transmission of Covid-19.
“Therefore, I have been instructed by Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon to present this notice to all Members of Parliament that the Dewan Rakyat will not be sitting on Aug 2,” said Nizam Mydin.
Earlier, Dr Noor Hisham said 11 positive Covid-19 cases were detected in Parliament House when the sitting was in progress with 10 positive cases detected via RTK-Ag using saliva while another was tested via RT-PCR screening.
The five-day special sitting that began on July 26 was scheduled to end tomorrow, while for the Dewan Negara it is set for three days from Aug 3.
In an immediate response, Federal Territories Minister and Ketereh MP Tan Sri Annuar Musa said that he is glad that the National Security Council (NSC) and the Health Ministry are taking the Parliament House outbreak seriously.
“With more than 70 positive cases confirmed, it should not be taken lightly.
“As MPs come from all over the country, it is extremely risky to expose them to infection and this may later result in a nationwide spread,” he said.
He proposed that an enhanced movement control order be imposed on the Parliament House locality for two weeks.
Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak issued a cryptic post on Facebook, claiming that “it seemed to be a coincidence that the Covid-19 attacked Parliament when the King had announced that His Majesty was upset with the government for not respecting the law, went against the King and lied to Parliament”.
Pontian MP Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan said he believed the postponement has nothing to do with the virus.
“The political crisis that is happening must be solved quickly, the constitutional crisis must be handled. Face it bravely to solve it,” he posted on Twitter.
Najib and Ahmad were referring to the revocation of the Emergency Ordinances just before the detection of Covid-19 cases in Parliament House on July 29.
Tambun MP Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu said that if the ruling of the NSC were followed, the Parliament House locality would have been placed under an enhanced MCO, as is usually done if cases reach above 40.
“The decision by the Health DG was made by a group of professionals after much deliberation. As at Thursday morning, before lockdown for testing, the number of cases totalled 57, way above the total 40 required for an enhanced MCO declaration and we should not have been allowed to leave the locality.
“However, we were tested and allowed to leave. As leaders, the health of the people is paramount as we can be silent carriers despite being vaccinated.
“I am ever ready to attend Parliament, but the health of my constituents remain top priority,” said Ahmad Faizal.