Senators hand over memorandum urging for Parliament to resume

Dewan Negara secretary Muhammad Sujairi Abdullah (right) receiving the memorandum from the group, led by Mohd Yusmadi Mohd Yusoff (left), at the entrance of the Parliament building.

KUALA LUMPUR: Following Monday (Aug 2)'s protest by Opposition MPs, 16 senators aligned with the Opposition turned up in Parliament on Tuesday (Aug 3) to protest the postponed sitting of the Dewan Negara.

The Upper House was originally scheduled to sit from Aug 3 to 5.

While there was a heavy police presence in Parliament grounds on Monday (Aug 2) when the MPs protested the postponement of the last day of the Dewan Rakyat's special five-day sitting, security appeared to be much lighter on Tuesday (Aug 3).

The roads leading to Parliament were blocked by the authorities on Monday but on Tuesday (Aug 3), the roads were not. There was only a single police checkpoint near the entrance of Parliament.

The press began staking out near Parliament at around 9am as the 11 senators began to arrive.

There are currently 16 Opposition-friendly senators – 14 from Pakatan Harapan and one each from Parti Warisan Sabah and Upko.

Some senators and staff were allowed inside Parliament grounds while those who arrived slightly after weren't allowed entry.

At around 9.45am, senator Mohd Yusmadi Mohd Yusoff handed over a memorandum to protest the postponement of Parliament to a representative of Dewan Negara president Tan Sri Rais Yatim.

Shortly after, Mohd Yusmadi addressed the media by reading out a joint statement by the senators in their ranks.

"We agree with the King's decree that the revocation of the Emergency Proclamation and its Ordinances was done by the government without transparency and it did not go through both houses (Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara) as well as being unconstitutional," he said.

Mohd Yusmadi added that the latest Dewan Negara sitting was postponed with short notice and it did not go through the right Dewan Negara Standing Orders.

"We were also informed that nearly all MPs, senators and Parliament staff have received two doses of the vaccine and herd immunity can be achieved in Parliament.

"Therefore, we are of the opinion that the Dewan Negara is safe to sit," he said.

Senator Raj Munni Sabu expressed similar sentiments as he urged the Dewan Negara to reconvene.

"We were given short notice that the sitting would be postponed. But based on our information, Parliament is one of the safest places in the country," he added.

After several senators addressed the press, the police told those who gathered there to disperse at 10.10am.

Aside from the senators, Public Accounts Committee chairman Wong Kah Woh was also seen entering Parliament grounds after passing a police checkpoint near the entrance.

Based on notice by Dewan Negara secretary Muhd Sujairi Abdullah, the Dewan Negara sitting was postponed to a date to be announced later due to Covid-19 risks in Parliament grounds.

On Monday (Aug 2), Opposition MPs including various party leaders gathered near Dataran Merdeka and attempted to march towards Parliament as a sign of protesting the postponement of the Dewan Rakyat sitting that day.

There was a heavy police presence and members of the Federal Reserve Unit also lined up to guard the area.

At around 11am, the MPs dispersed following advice from the police.

On Sunday, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the Parliament sitting and its meetings would be postponed for two weeks starting July 29 in order to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 in Parliament after 11 positive cases were found.

The Dewan Rakyat proceedings had been adjourned on Thursday (July 29) when all MPs in the House were ordered by the Health Ministry to take a Covid-19 test after two Parliament staff members had tested positive.

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