MPs Trapped In Parliament Over COVID-19 Protocols After Several Adjournments Today

Lawmakers were trapped in the Parliament building after going through four adjournments without explanation today, 29 July. Finally, at about 5.15pm, it's announced that the Parliament sitting was postponed until next Monday.

Cover image via @501Awani (Twitter) & @limlipeng (Twitter)

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It has been an eventful day for the third session of the 14th Parliament today, 29 July.

Not only was the sitting interrupted with adjournment after adjournment, but members of Parliament (MPs) were also not allowed to leave the Dewan Rakyat over COVID-19 protocols.

Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon made the announcement following the detection of two positive COVID-19 cases in the august House.

"I have received a letter from the Health director-general dated 29 July that reads, 'It is with regret that the Ministry of Health was informed on 29 July at 12pm of two COVID-19 cases which were detected in Parliament'," Rashid said when the Parliament sitting was resumed at 3.30pm.

"The first case is an official who was present for work in Parliament from Monday, 26 July, until Wednesday, 28 July, with the CT (cycle threshold) value of 18.7 high viral load and infectivity, while the second case was found positive on Thursday, 29 July, during a screening in Parliament using the RTK Antigen Saliva Test."

"Risk assessment based on preliminary investigations show both cases were in several locations in Parliament during that time. With that, COVID-19 mass screening will be done on all in attendance and are in Parliament Malaysia, including all members of Parliament, officers, and workers."

"No one is allowed to leave Parliament until the results are obtained."

As soon as the Deputy Speaker finished reading the letter, he stood up and left the Dewan Rakyat while many MPs stood up to demand that he "jangan lari" (don't run)

A video capturing the situation in the Dewan Rakyat after Rashid made the announcement shows many lawmakers standing up and gesturing angrily at Rashid.

The Deputy Speaker was believed to have muted every MPs' microphone prior to leaving the august House.

He did not stay to accept questions from the MPs.

In a tweet, Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng posted a photo of the condition at the Parliament building.

Lim expressed his fear that there may be a Parliament cluster as many people were seen not observing physical distancing.

Earlier today, the Parliament sitting was adjourned numerous times after a statement from Istana Negara accused de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan of misleading the House

The statement also mentioned that Takiyuddin and Attorney General (AG) Tan Sri Idrus Harun had failed to fulfil their promise to the Agong to have the Emergency Ordinances matter debated in Parliament.

According to The Star, the Parliament sitting was adjourned for 15 minutes at around 12.30 following the statement.

Later in the afternoon at around 2.30pm, Deputy Speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said adjourned the sitting again.

"They are adjourning this to avoid debates and votes," Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim told reporters during a press conference.

"If they wanted to test us for COVID-19, there isn't a need to postpone sittings."

Meanwhile, while the Parliament was interrupted with adjournments, Bernama reported that the AG and Cabinet ministers were believed to have visited Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's residence in Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur.

The meeting came shortly after Istana Negara expressed their disappointment at the federal government.

Free Malaysia Today reported that journalists and government top guns had been appearing at Muhyiddin's residence around 1pm to 1.30pm. 

At the time of writing, Sinar Harian quoted a report by Suara TV that Takiyuddin has allegedly offered to resign from his post as the de facto Law Minister.

Separately, The Straits Times reported based on sources that Muhyiddin was advised to step down as Prime Minister by his allies in the Pakatan Nasional (PN) coalition.

At about 5.15pm today, Rashid said the Parliament sitting has been postponed to Monday, 2 August. BFM reported that this is the fifth adjournment in a single day.

In a statement today, 29 July, Istana Negara said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong was "amat dukacita" (very disappointed) with Takiyuddin for misleading the House:

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