COVID-19 limits Parliament sitting on May 18

COVID-19 limits Parliament sitting on May 18

KUALA LUMPUR, May 17 — A total of 220 out of 222 Members of Parliament (MP) are confirmed COVID-19 negative thus enabling them to attend the Dewan Rakyat sitting tomorrow.

Two other MPs did not go through the screening test because they were undergoing quarantine after they were found to be close contacts of COVID-19 positive cases.

A total of 950 people comprising MPs, Senators, Parliament staff and media personnel who were scheduled to be in Parliament during the one-day conference, third term of the 14th Parliamentary session underwent a COVID-19 screening test in stages from May 13 to ensure that those present are free of the outbreak. 

The Parliament sitting this time, which would take place in the middle of the country’s struggle to combat the deadly outbreak, would be held with strict health safety regulations in compliance with the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO).

To ensure the Parliament building was free of COVID-19, the Fire and Rescue Department carried out the sanitation process in the main building of Parliament today and after the sitting.

The meeting of the 222 MPs for the first meeting, Third Term of the 14th Parliamentary was originally scheduled for March 9 to April 16, but was postponed to a day-long sitting tomorrow (May 18) following the COVID-19 outbreak that led the implementation of the movement control order (MCO).

The one-day sitting of Dewan Rakyat is in accordance with Article 55 (1) of the Federal Constitution stating that the Dewan shall convene no later than six months after its last meeting.

The Third Meeting, Second Term of the 14th Parliament was adjourned on Dec 5 last year after 36 days of sitting since Oct 7, 2019.

The businesses of the Dewan Rakyat sitting were also amended to feature only the Royal address for the opening of Parliament sitting by the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah due to the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country which has yet to fully ease.

“The opening ceremony this time will be a bit brief compared to before considering the Health Ministry’s standard operating procedure (SOP) on COVID-19 … but the ceremonies are maintained,” said House Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof.

In accordance with the calender of the Dewan Rakyat sitting, the Second Meeting of the Third Term, which would take place for 25 days from July 13 to August 27, would include the motion of thanks to the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, debate on the royal address, bills and other government affairs and the tabling of the Twelfth Malaysia Plan (RMK) -12).

Meanwhile, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) chief whip Leader Datuk Johari Abdul said all PKR MPs had undergone a COVID-19 screening on May 14 and 15 in their respective constituencies and those in the Klang Valley had the test at Parliament House.

Johari said Parliament had previously informed all MPs about adherence to standard operating procedures (SOPs) including the mandatory checking of body temperature before entering the Parliament building.

Minister of Entrepreneur and Co-operative Development Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said he underwent a rigorous check-in at the airport before boarding a plane from Kuching to Kuala Lumpur and practicing social distancing on-board the flight.

“I have also done three COVID-19 screening tests … the first screening test in the Prime Minister’s office, second in the Ministry of Entrepreneur and Co-operative Development and third in Parliament. These are all precautionary measures, “he said.

— BERNAMA

Source: BERNAMA