MPs, Parliament staff to undergo Covid-19 test every 2 weeks

pic by BERNAMA

MPS and staff on duty are advised by the Health Ministry (MoH) to undergo Covid-19 test fortnightly to prevent further spread of the virus in the Parliament building.

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun (picture) said he had discussed with Health DG Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah on the matter following the rise of Covid-19 cases in the country.

“The honourable MPs and staff on duty have to undergo Covid-19 test every two weeks. The Parliament administrator will issue a notice from time to time,” he said in a proclamation in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

MoH will also evaluate the Parliament building’s standard operating procedures (SOPs) if a positive case is detected there.

“Any infection in the Parliament may lead to the closure of the building if there is a need to do so,” Azhar Azizan said.

He added that Dr Noor Hisham had advised the MPs to take several precautions to ensure that the Dewan Rakyat sitting can be held safely.

MPs are no longer allowed to hold gatherings or meetings in large numbers, either in the Parliament’s premises or beyond its compound.

If there is a need for them to physically meet and gather, the health DG will advise them to obey the SOPs set by the MoH and National Security Council.

Azhar Azizan said MPs are also advised to limit their movements when they are outside of Parliament’s premises throughout the session and avoid going to crowded places.

“On behalf of Parliament Malaysia, I would like to thank the health DG, Kuala Lumpur health director and MoH officers for running the tests and for the advice given to MPs and Parliament staff,” he added.

This week’s Dewan Rakyat sitting has been cut short to 1pm until today following confirmed Covid-19 cases involving a media personnel and a special aide to a Dewan Negara senator.

Law Minister Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said the reduced hours will not affect the rights for the MPs to debate and it will also not shorten the duration for the tabling of Budget 2021 tomorrow.

On Tuesday, Malaysia registered 12 deaths caused by Covid-19, all of which were in Sabah, bringing the death toll to 263.

It was the highest number of deaths recorded in a day since the virus hit the country this year. The last time Malaysia saw double-digit death figures due to the virus was on Oct 23 at 10 fatalities.

A total of 1,032 new cases were reported yesterday, pushing the tally of infections to 35,452.