Opposition MPs walk out from Dewan Rakyat during bloc vote after Speaker allows quarantined MPs in | Malaysia


Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun said he made the allowance to let three lawmakers under home quarantine into Parliament for a vote this time as an Opposition MP broke quarantine last Thursday to vote on Budget 2021 Supply Bill in Parliament. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 14 — Opposition MPs staged a walkout from the Dewan Rakyat today to protest Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun’s decision to let three lawmakers under home quarantine into Parliament for a vote.

The majority of the Opposition MPs that were from PKR and DAP could be seen walking out when bloc voting was called.

“What reasons are there for these MPs to be allowed to be present in Parliament when they have been categorised as close contacts [of Covid-19 positive cases]?” PKR’s Kuala Langat MP Datuk Dr Xavier Jayakumar asked Azhar.

He was referring to three MPs sitting in the public gallery in full personal protective equipment (PPE) suits.

In reply, Azhar said he made the allowance this time as an Opposition MP broke quarantine last Thursday to vote on Budget 2021 Supply Bill in Parliament. He is believed to be referring to Batu MP P. Prabakaran. 

“I don’t want this to happen again, so it is best that I regulate this voting session. 

“I will take action, but from my evaluation, rather than for a person who did not obey quarantine orders, better I regulate this voting,” said Azhar. 

But Opposition MPs continued to express dissatisfaction with his ruling.

That’s when Azhar asked: “Are you afraid to vote? Please sit, we want to vote”.

He pointed out that the three MPs in the gallery had tested negative for Covid-19.

But Dr Xavier retorted: “You are making a mockery of the law!” 

The budget allocation for the Federal Territories Ministry was approved by the Dewan Rakyat with 110 MPs for the allocations, seven against, 31 did not vote, and 72 absent. 

Outside the House, Opposition MPs said they were trying to verify if Prabakaran had indeed received orders to be home quarantined.

The other two MPs that are supposed to stay at home are Tenggara MP Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba who is also the health minister; and Tapah MP Datuk Seri M. Saravanan who is also human resources minister.

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