KUALA LUMPUR: MPs will have to undergo a yearly medical check-up if they wish to attend Parliament beginning with the coming meeting in May, says Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
This follows reports of nine deaths involving elected representatives from 2018 to 2020, said the Deputy Prime Minister.
"Speaker Datuk Johari Abdul suggested that MPs and senators undergo regular check-ups.
"The meeting has agreed that this must be done once a year when the meeting starts," he told a press conference after chairing the Agenda Nasional Malaysia Sihat (ANMS) Cabinet committee meeting on Wednesday (March 29).
He revealed that the deaths were linked to various health issues including liver problems, diabetes, heart trouble and cancer.
Ahmad Zahid also said he and the other Cabinet members were more than willing to go for the check-ups.
"As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure," he added.
On Feb 28, Johari told The Star that MPs will soon have to undergo compulsory regular health checks to ensure they are fit for duty.
This was after a recent scare when Fathul Huzir Ayob (PN-Gerik) suffered breathing problems in the august House.
On Feb 20, Fathul ran into difficulties five minutes into his debate on the motion of thanks for the Royal Address.
He was seen to loosen his tie while looking nervous and spoke in a muted tone, prompting several MPs to stand up and express their concern.
Deputy Speaker Datuk Ramli Mohd Nor then instructed him to seek immediate medical attention from the Parliament doctor.
The Speaker's instruction was welcomed by MPs from both sides of the divide, including Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, who supported Johari’s proposal, going so far as to say that ministers should also follow suit.
On a separate matter, Ahmad Zahid said nearly one in five Malaysians has diabetes, according to the 2019 National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS).
Three in 10 suffer from high cholesterol while one in two are obese, he added.
He said several initiatives to address this will be taken by the government via the Health Ministry, including campaigns to raise awareness involving non-communicable diseases.