THE three MPs under home quarantine had obtained special permission from Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah to attend Parliament, says Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun.
The trio – Health Minister Datuk Sero Dr Adham Baba (BN-Tenggara), Human Resources Minister Datuk M Saravanan (BN-Tapah) and P Prabakaran (Harapan-Batu) – were previously exposed to a Covid-19 positive patient.
“The trio under Home Surveillance Order (HSO) had written to the Health DG for permission to attend Parliament.
“The Health DG in a letter dated Dec 14 granted the three MPs under HSO permission for time off (from their quarantine) to attend Parliament until Dec 17,” Azhar said in response to opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.
Azhar added that he was made to understand that it was not a new practice, as similar permission had been granted for other urgent cases, Malaysiakini reported.
During the last Sabah state elections, certain polling stations including at SK Bukit Garam, Lamag, saw voters under home quarantine being transported via ambulance and accompanied to cast their ballots.
Unhappiness over the presence of the MPs in the Dewan Rakyat while wearing full personal protective equipment, had prompted a group of opposition lawmakers to walk out from a bloc vote for the Federal Territories Ministry’s budget yesterday.
At the end of Question Time this morning, Anwar stood up to once again seek clarification from Azhar on Covid-19 prevention procedures in place throughout this session ending tomorrow.
In noting that the Port Dickson MP had yesterday asked the same question, Azhar said the walkout had caused him to miss providing certain answers.
“For that, I apologise,” the speaker said.
Safety measures had been taken including to confine the three MPs to the public gallery, and for them to be accompanied by an usher when a bloc vote is called, he added.
Of the three, Azhar said he was also informed that Dr Adham had ended his 10-day HSO yesterday, Prabakaran will end his today, and Saravanan has until Thursday to complete the new 10-day shortened quarantine period for Covid-19 close contacts.