KUALA LUMPUR, July 28 ― Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said today said she has no power to eject any MP who does not wear a face mask or fails to comply with health regulations in Parliament amid the current Covid-19 pandemic.
She said the decision to allow any MP to enter Parliament without a face mask lay with the Parliament director-general, its sergeant-at-arms and the security forces stationed there.
She explained that she could only give guidance based on the Standing Orders in the Dewan Rakyat and that not wearing a face mask was not an explicit violation of House rules, nor were the Covid-19 standard operating procedures issued by the Health Ministry to curb the coronavirus infection rate that has trending upwards in recent weeks after the government relaxed its earlier restrictions.
Azalina was responding to Jelutong MP RSN Rayer, who raised the Standing Orders and claimed several lawmakers from the ruling Perikatan Nasional (PN) were not abiding with the Covid-19 SOP by not wearing a face mask in the House and named Baling MP Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim among them.
“If I want to ask which regulation that Yang Berhormat is standing on, which point of order? Can you please enlighten me?” Azalina asked Rayer.
The usually vocal Rayer appeared taken aback and paused for a few seconds before replying: “The SOPs that were given to the Dewan.”
“I am asking in the context of this debate,” Azalina said.
“It’s not necessarily in here,” Rayer admitted but insisted that his assertion was based on the seating arrangements where some members of the Opposition were relegated to sit at the public viewing hall.
“If you want to talk on seating arrangements, that is up to the Speaker. If you want to talk about who can come in and out of the House, that is up to the sergeant-at-arms and Parliament security.
“If you have issues with anyone coming into the Dewan, you bring it up with the director-general outside of the House,” said Azalina who then called upon Tenom MP Norita Sual to begin her debate on the Royal Address.