(Updated)

Parliament special sitting adjournment based on science, health facts, says DPM

Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (Photo by Zahid Izzani Mohd Said/The Edge)

Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (Photo by Zahid Izzani Mohd Said/The Edge)

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BERA (Aug 1): The decision to adjourn the special sitting of the Dewan Rakyat tomorrow (Aug 2) was made based on science and health facts, and not due to a political agenda, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

He said it was in line with the recommendation of Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, following the development of positive cases that occurred within four days of the special sitting, which began from last Monday.

"The Ministry of Health (MOH) has a relevant act, Act 342 (Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988), to postpone (Parliament) due to concerns. We do not have a Parliament 'green bubble'... whereby these people are only allowed to travel from Parliament to go home and not to go anywhere else.

"... and we do not know, if there are those who are positive, they go home and meet family members or perhaps, go to other places such as mosques, supermarkets, and so on, which (would put them) at risk of spreading the virus to more people," he said.

Ismail Sabri, who is also the Defence Minister, said this to reporters after presenting food baskets to the needy at the Charuk Puting Mosque, and inspecting the construction of the Guai bridge here today.

Commenting on food baskets, thus far, Ismail Sabri said a total of 19,372 food baskets have been distributed to those in need around the Bera district, apart from other needs of mosques and surau, including funeral management sets.

On July 28, Dr Noor Hisham confirmed that a total of 56 positive cases were detected by a screening test conducted between July 21 and 25 for the special sitting of the Dewan Rakyat, while the screening test conducted last Thursday found that 11 more individuals tested positive.

Ismail Sabri also said that the MOH, at a special meeting he attended, had suggested that the parliament sitting be postponed, or otherwise be conducted with the conditions of shortening the time and reducing the attendance to only 80 people, but the opposition disagreed.

"We are concerned with the increase in cases, but they said it had yet to occur and to try (to hold a session) first. It (sitting) was held even though we could see there would be an increase in cases. After four days of sitting, more swab tests were conducted and there were more cases.

"Finally, the MOH issued an advice for Parliament to be adjourned, and we follow (the advice) because this is an issue that involves lives," he said.

In this regard, Ismail Sabri hoped that no party would politicise the issue of the postponement of the sitting, but he would not be surprised if it happened because he said that politics in Malaysia have never subsided, compared with other countries, where politicking ceases after elections.

Yesterday, Dewan Rakyat secretary Nizam Mydin Bacha Mydin in a notice issued to all Dewan Rakyat members stated that the special meeting of the Third Session of the 14th Parliament tomorrow (Aug 2) was postponed to a date to be determined later.

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