Report: Parliament can stop unvaccinated MPs from entering building, says Senate president

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Dewan Negara Speaker Tan Sri Rais Yatim speaks to reporters at a press conference at Parliament September 2, 2020. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Dewan Negara Speaker Tan Sri Rais Yatim speaks to reporters at a press conference at Parliament September 2, 2020. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 — Parliament has the power to bar members of the Dewan Rakyat or Dewan Negara from entering the institution’s premises if they have not taken Covid-19 vaccinations, said Tan Sri Rais Yatim.

Local Malay language daily Utusan Malaysia today quoted the Dewan Negara president as saying that the restrictions could be implemented based on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 if needed.

“This is a question of governance and public health under the 1988 infectious diseases act, so all Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara members must comply and go through vaccination as soon as possible.

“In case it is not done, authorities may not allow the public representative to attend Parliament.

“Although for now it is set that they have to be screened and test negative for Covid-19 before entering Parliament, but Parliament officials can take this further step to curb the spread of Covid-19,” he reportedly said last night.

However, Rais stressed that this should not be an issue as a public representative should be an example to the people.

“We have asked from top to bottom to take the vaccine, but if there are public representatives who refuse to do so then it will give a negative image and bring risk to the public,” he reportedly said.

Rais was quoted as saying that Covid-19 screenings for all Parliament staff including Dewan Rakyat members will be done this Sunday, before the sitting on July 26.

“More than 90 per cent of them have been vaccinated, there are those who have received one dose and also those who have received two doses.

“It is expected that tomorrow (today) all Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara members will finish both doses,” he reportedly said yesterday.

Yesterday, Malay Mail reported that 13 MPs have yet to be vaccinated — including “two to three” who refused to do so — according to a source privy to the matter.

The source, who requested to remain anonymous, said that the two to three MPs justified their refusal by saying vaccination is not a legal requirement under the Federal Constitution.

He also alleged that in an official notice inviting MPs to attend a special meeting of Parliament next week, they were informed that it was not compulsory for them to be vaccinated to attend the said meeting.

The special meeting will be the first time Parliament convenes after its closure at the start of the nationwide Emergency in January — and will last five days, from July 26 to July 29, and on August 2.

Meanwhile, the Dewan Negara will have three days of special sittings, from August 3 to August 5.

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