It’s a crazy day for Malaysian parliamentarians. Just hours after lawmakers debated the king’s rebuke against the revocation of emergency ordinances, today’s sitting was cut short due to COVID-19.
Everyone who attended today’s special sitting had to be taken to the main hall for COVID-19 tests after two people linked to Parliament were confirmed to have the coronavirus. News of the outbreak happened coincidentally, just as lawmakers were discussing the king’s announcement earlier today that emergency ordinances were revoked without royal approval, prompting calls for the prime minister to resign.
To top it all off, police vehicles as well as others believed to be carrying cabinet members and Attorney-General Idrus Harun were seen entering Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s place of residence in Bukit Damansara at around 1:30pm.
“I’ve just received a letter from the health director-general, stating that the Health Ministry unfortunately detected two fresh COVID-19 cases on July 29, at 12.30pm, in Parliament,” Parliament Deputy Speaker Mohd Rashid Hasnon told lawmakers earlier today.
“The first case involves an employee who has been here since Monday, July 26. The individual was here until Wednesday, July 28. He has a high viral load and infectivity. The second case was detected today, during self-screening.
“A risk assessment found that these two individuals have been on the Parliament premises,” he added.
Today’s sitting was paused after Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah’s statement became a hot topic among parliamentarians. Rashid further delayed the parliamentary proceedings to 5.15pm before it got postponed to Monday as two more tested positive for COVID-19. Rashid had prohibited lawmakers from leaving Parliament premises until the results of their tests were out.
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil have confirmed their negative results on social media.
Members of the media have also flocked to Muhyiddin’s private residence in Bukit Damansara since 1pm after the Royal Palace statement came out. Several vehicles believed to be carrying cabinet members and Attorney-General Idrus Harun were spotted entering the residence via the main gate at about 1.30pm.
In the middle of the political whirlwind, rumors of Parliament Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun and Law minister Takiyuddin Hassan resigning have spread online.
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