Mask off: Malaysian MPs allowed to remove face masks when speaking in Parliament

Azhar Azizan Harun speaking in Parliament, Sept. 2021. Photo: Bernama
Azhar Azizan Harun speaking in Parliament, Sept. 2021. Photo: Bernama

Malaysian lawmakers are now allowed to take off their face masks when debating in Parliament. 

Parliament Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun announced this today after noticing 16 days of no COVID-19 infections in the house, where 222 members have been gathering to discuss national issues. Members of Parliament will still be required to undergo daily swab tests. 

“All Members of Parliament must immediately put on their face mask once they are done speaking,” the speaker said today. 

An outbreak was reported in Parliament on Jul. 29, affecting 11 individuals, and lawmakers were urged to wear double masks, usually consisting of a cloth mask on top of a disposable one for added protection. 

Parliament has been COVID-free since sessions began on Sep. 13. Last week, four MPs requested that face masks be allowed to be removed when speaking so as to prevent breathing difficulties.

Malaysia is increasing efforts to reopen the country and relax COVID-19 rules, with vaccinated travelers allowed to cross states or fly out to 16 different destinations starting today.  

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