Opposition MPs never agreed to Parliament suspension, Loke tells Health DG

KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition lawmakers never agreed to suspend Parliament if there were any positive Covid-19 cases, Seremban MP Anthony Loke (pic) tells Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

The DAP national organising secretary said that he had attended the meeting chaired by Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun last Monday (July 26) to represent DAP, together with PKR secretary-general Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail and Parti Amanah Negara strategic director Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.

"The three of us agreed that the Parliament sitting must proceed, but it must take into consideration all the necessary standard operating procedures (SOP) including taking swab tests prior to the sitting for all lawmakers," he said in a statement late Sunday night (Aug 1).

On Sunday, the Health Ministry has advised Parliament sitting and meetings at its premises to be postponed for two weeks, starting July 29.

The Health director-general had said that the suggestion was made based on the health risk assessment and to prevent transmission of Covid-19 in Parliament.

Dr Noor Hisham had said it was previously agreed between both the government and Opposition that should there be a positive case detected among those who physically attended Parliament, the five-day special Parliament sitting would be halted immediately.

Dr Noor Hisham also said the agreement was made on Monday at 8am, in a meeting that included the Deputy Prime Minister, the Dewan Rakyat Speaker and other representatives from both the government and Opposition.

Loke added that he had suggested that if there were any concerns, lawmakers were ready to undergo Covid-19 test each week and if they are found positive, they must be quarantined immediately.

"The screening test involving 1,000 individuals on Thursday in Parliament also detected only 1% of the positivity rate. It is inappropriate to suspend Parliament for two weeks.

"I consider Dr Noor Hisham's statement that Opposition lawmakers agreed to the suspension of Parliament as misleading to the public," he said.

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