Ahmad Zahid, deputy minister among those tested positive for Covid-19

By John Isaac

UMNO president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Mansor Othman are among MPs who have tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of Monday’s Parliament sitting – well-placed sources informed Malaysiakini.

Utusan Malaysia also cited sources as saying that Bachok MP Nik Abduh Nik Aziz also tested positive. Sources who spoke to Malaysiakini also indicated this.

Nik Abduh, however, denied this. He told Harian Metro there was some doubt earlier in the day, but that ultimately his swab test came back negative.

Meanwhile, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin confirmed with Malaysiakini that she was one of Mansor’s close contacts.

Utusan Malaysia also reported that Deputy Speaker Datuk Rashid Hasnon was a close contact to a Covid-19 patient.

However, an officer from the deputy speaker’s office denied that Rashid had come into close contact with any Covid-19 patients.

The aide also said Rashid and all his officers tested negative for Covid-19.

Earlier, there was speculation that Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa was also positive for Covid-19, but sources close to him later denied this.

The minister had been quarantined on July 15 after his special officer tested positive for the virus.

It is unclear how many other MPs have tested positive or would have to be quarantined for close contact.

Arau MP Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim told Malaysiakini that those who tested positive must reveal themselves so that their close contacts can get tested.

These MPs will not be able to take part in Parliament virtually this coming week, as the Dewan Rakyat’s standing orders have not yet been amended to facilitate a hybrid sitting.

Parliament is convening for five days starting this Monday.

The agenda so far is to hear briefings from the government on the National Recovery Plan, with debates allowed.

Previously, it was reported that the Dewan Rakyat was considering allowing only 80 MPs into the lower house’s chambers at a time.

According to Dewan Rakyat speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun, 35 MPs have only received one dose of the vaccine, while four others have not been vaccinated for certain reasons.

The remaining 181 MPs are fully vaccinated.