KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 — The presence of members of Parliament in Dewan Rakyat sitting in personal protection equipment (PPE) was because they were still under home quarantine but were allowed to carry out their duties to vote and as such it was not politically motivated.
Senior Minister ( Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government had earlier also allowed those under quarantine to be present at certain locations to be given their right to do so.
He said in the Sabah state election in September, the government allowed voters to vote even though they were under quarantine.
“In the case of MPs yesterday, they were close contacts of those who are positive. The right to vote in Parliament is a right enshrined in the Constitution.
“They have the right to be allowed to vote in Parliament as the rule still requires them to be present physically in Parliament,” he told a media conference on the development of Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) here today.
Yesterday, Tenggara MP Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba, Datuk Seri M. Saravanan (Tapah) and P. Prabakaran (Batu) who were undergoing Home Surveillance Order (HSO), attended Dewan Rakyat proceedings wearing PPE which sparked an uproar among opposition members.
However, Dewan Rakyat Speaker, Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun said the three MPs had written to Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah and obtained approval to be present in Dewan Rakyat.
Meanwhile, Ismail Sabri also gave the example when the country was enforcing Movement Control Order on March 18, that there was relaxation for those attending burial ceremonies on the condition the individuals must put on PPE.
“Similarly, now when they wanted to exercise their right as voters, they were also told to wear full PPE to protect other members from being infected if they were positive.
“But so far, they are negative from the first swab test. Nonetheless, we are still ordering them to put on full PPE and should not be in their seats,” he said.
Elaborating further, Ismail Sabri said the relaxation was not only given to MPs from Barisan Nasional but also to an MP from the opposition bloc.
“They only enter to vote and waited for their ministry’s turn for winding up, they were actually placed in a special room and did not mix with anybody.
“We took the action based on their right to vote and did not deny them their right as enshrined in the Federal Constitution. So that is why we allow, it is not because it is on voting that we will allow BN to do so,” he said.