Dewan Rakyat Speaker tables SOP for parliament sitting amid COVID-19

by BERNAMA/ pic by BERNAMA

DEWAN Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof today tabled the standard operating procedures (SOP) for Parliament sitting to curb the spread of COVID-19 in this recovery phase.

Raising the curtain for the Second Meeting of the Third Session of the 14th Parliament, Mohamad Ariff said the SOP was aimed at enabling all the honourable Members of Parliament (MPs) to attend the meeting safely and in control.

“We have to go through this new normal to curb the pandemic, including by complying with the social distancing aspect…especially when we have 87 MPs aged 60 and above who are at higher risk,” he said.

Besides being advised to wear a face mask at all time, the SOP also saw only 174 MPs seated at the main area of the Dewan Rakyat, while the backbenchers were seated at the officers’ sitting area to ensure social distancing.

Independent MPs were seated at the public gallery, while the opposition filled the seats at the officers’ sitting area on the left side of the Speaker.

While Mohamad Ariff was explaining the SOP, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PKR-Port Dickson), who is Opposition Leader, interjected and asked if the MPs seated at the officers’ sitting area and public gallery could be provided with necessary devices such as microphones to enable them to participate in the discussion during the sitting.

“The MPs elected by the people are having problem (to speak), so I hope the Parliament can provide them with the device,” he said.

In reply, Mohamad Ariff said those seated in the public gallery can come down to the main area to use the microphone, and that he would try his best to ensure the smooth running of the sitting facilitate amid the new normal.