Malaysia Bagus News
Malaysia Bagus News
KUALA LUMPUR: Only 80 of the 222 MPs will be allowed in the Dewan Rakyat at any one time from tomorrow, and sittings will be held from 10am to 2pm from Monday.
Deputy speaker Rashid Hasnon said 41 of 80 MPs will be from Perikatan Nasional (PN) and the rest from the opposition and independents.
He said this is to stop the spread of Covid-19 in Parliament.
The ruling was immediately objected to by the opposition MPs, who felt that Parliament should have better plans to curb the spread of the virus.
The decision will affect the tabling of 2021 budget proposals by Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz tomorrow and the subsequent debates.
The Supply Bill 2021 will also be tabled by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin tomorrow. The MPs will then debate on the bill at two levels – policy and committee stage – from Monday.
At the policy stage, MPs will be given eight days to debate, while at committee level, which looks at the nitty gritty or the technical aspects of the budget, the debate will be held over 11 days.
The current meeting of the Dewan Rakyat is scheduled to end on Dec 15 but Rashid said it may be extended to Dec 17.
In the past, daily sittings usually went on until late at night, on occasions even until midnight.
However, Rashid assured the MPs they would have adequate time to voice their opinions about the budget, even with the new sitting hours.
He said the 80 MPs allowed into the main chamber would be determined by the parties and they would be provided with special entry passes.
“The 80 MPs can record their entry through their laptops,” he said.
But for the voting process, all 222 MPs will be allowed entry, he said.
Oral questions, usually held on Mondays and Wednesdays, will now be limited to one hour – from 10am to 11am – instead of 90 minutes.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, oral questions will be limited to 55 minutes – from 10.05am to 11am – with only one additional question allowed.
“The additional question has to be as brief as possible,” Rashid said.
Similarly, the Ministers Question Time, held every Tuesdays and Thursdays, will be shortened from 30 minutes to five minutes, The MPs will read their questions and the ministers will provide written answers, which will also be uploaded on Parliament’s website.
Rashid then called for a voice vote on the new rules, which were agreed to by the house.
Earlier, he told the MPs a discussion had been held with all the party whips who had agreed to the restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
But Khalid Samad (PH-Shah Alam) asked if a new motion would be tabled if the number of cases went down, to which de facto law minister Takiyuddin Hassan said they will review the motion if it happened.
Several members again called for Parliament to meet virtually, while others complained about the reduced question time.
Takiyuddin said virtual parliamentary sessions were not covered by the Standing Order but the situation would be reviewed.
Teo Nie Ching (PH-Kulai) expressed unhappiness over the limited time given to ministers to answer the MPs’ questions.
Previously, she said, ministers were given 45 to 60 minutes, “but if they are only given 15 minutes, there will not be enough time to answer all our questions”.
Takiyuddin replied that if there was insufficient time, the ministers would give their replies in writing.