The presence of three members of Parliament who are undergoing House Surveillance Order (HSO) in the Dewan today sparked off a protest by opposition MPs during a bloc vote of the 2021 Supply Bill for the Ministry of Federal Territories at committee level.
The three MPs, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba, Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri M Saravanan and P Prabakaran (PH-Batu) entered the Dewan Rakyat Public Gallery wearing PPE to join the voting.
The situation caused Kuala Langat MP Datuk Dr Xavier Jayakumar to question the rationale of allowing the three members to enter the Dewan to vote.
Also standing up to question the move was Sepanggar MP, Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman who claimed the presence of the three MPs was raising the risk of infection to other members of the house as well as their families.
However, Dewan Rakyat Speaker, Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun said the decision was made following the move of an MP who broke quarantine order to join in the voting last week.
“Last Thursday, an MP from the other side (opposition) who did not comply with the quarantine order came to vote.
“I do not want the matter to arise further, so it is better I regulate the voting process,” he said.
He is believed to be referring to Prabakaran.
But Opposition MPs continued to express dissatisfaction with his ruling.
That’s when Azhar asked: “Are you afraid to vote? Please sit, we want to vote”.
He pointed out that the three MPs in the gallery had tested negative for Covid-19.
“You are making a mockery of the law,” said Xavier as he got up to leave the hall after opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim (Port Dickson-PH) signalled to the opposition to walk out.
The 2021 Supply Bill of the ministry was passed at committee stage in a bloc vote when 110 MPs supported, seven opposed, 31 did not vote while 72 were not present.
Earlier, before the debate at committee stage began, Azhar clarified that there were requests from MPs under HSO to attend the sitting today.
Azhar said the MPs were brought in by ambulance and upon arrival at Parliament were placed in a special room.