Thursday, October 21, 2021

Parliament ready for hybrid sitting, says deputy speaker

Rashid Hasnon says other technical aspects are being finalised.

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Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker Mohd Rashid Hasnon says Parliament has the facilities needed to implement a hybrid Dewan Rakyat sitting at any time if necessary.

He said Parliament is also in the process of finalising other technical aspects required.

“Of course we are prepared and the existing facilities are adequate. We are making additions to implement it (a hybrid sitting),” he told Bernama.

He said there is still no set date for the Dewan Rakyat to convene, adding that the requirement in the Standing Orders for a 28-day notice would be followed.

“We leave it to the discretion of the leader of the House for its implementation,” he said.

Rashid said the implementation of a hybrid Parliament sitting was a new norm, adding that it was not impossible that it would go down as a historical moment for Malaysia as it faces the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It also represents a new challenge for the speaker as we will be dealing with monitors to look at MPs,” he said.

Rashid said if a hybrid Dewan Rakyat sitting does happen, there will be several Standing Orders that require amendments, including to the voting process, and all amendments required will be included as an addendum to the existing Standing Orders.

“One more example, Parliament refers to the Federal Constitution Article 62 Parliamentary Procedure.

“In 62(5) it is stated that members who do not attend a parliamentary sitting are not allowed to vote. But if we refer to 62(1) it is subject to this parliamentary provision and provisions of federal laws, that every parliamentary sitting needs to regulate its own protocols,” he said.

When asked how many MPs need to be present in the Dewan Rakyat if the amendments are to be passed, Rashid said the minimum number for a quorum is 26.

Previously, the Dewan Rakyat with the speaker’s ruling had set a maximum of 80 MPs in the Dewan Rakyat. However, the actual total and method are still being discussed.

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