Brief flap in Parliament as Loke struggles to breathe during Question Time

KUALA LUMPUR: There was a brief health scare in the Dewan Rakyat after Transport Minister Anthony Loke seemed to have minor breathing difficulties during Question Time on Wednesday (July 10).

Loke was scheduled to answer the first question of the day from Wong Chen (PH-Subang) on guidelines to allow persons with disabilities (OKU) with Class A and A1 driving licences to work as ehailing drivers.

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He was also asked about government plans to change guidelines to allow OKU drivers to get a Public Service Vehicle (PSV) licence.

As soon as he stood up to answer the question, however, Loke seemed out of breath and struggled to deliver the first few lines of his response.

Even after a short break, Loke continued to struggle to breathe as he patted his chest several times before signalling to Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Hasbi Habibollah to answer in his stead.

Upon taking over the session, Hasbi immediately told Loke to relax as he proceeded to answer the question.

“YB (Loke), calm yourself down, and I will answer this first,” he said.

Other lawmakers expressed concern, with Datuk Mohd Isam Mohd Isa (BN-Tampin) calling for Loke to get a hospital check-up immediately.

“YB, you need to get yourself checked. It's dangerous (for your health),” he said.

Fortunately, Loke managed to recover and continued to answer supplementary questions.

He said the ministry would continue to advocate for OKU driving licence holders to join the ehailing industry on a case-by-case basis.

“So long as they obtain medical approval and proof that their disabilities would not endanger themselves, other drivers, or their passengers, we will give them an exemption to obtain a (PSV or ehailing) licence,” he said.

He added that his ministry was looking at improving the application process for eligible OKU drivers to obtain such licences.

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