HOME Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin defended the police’s decision to block MPs from entering the Parliament on Aug 2, saying it was to contain COVID-19 outbreak at the premises.
However, he admitted the authorities erred by not allowing Public Accounts Committee (PAC) members from attending two meetings scheduled at the Parliament, despite having approval letters from Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun.
“The police acted based on the guideline provided by the Health Ministry (MOH). I didn’t block any MPs from entering the Parliament but priority was given to public health matters, to allow sanitisation to take place due to COVID-19 outbreak.
“So, I don’t see any issue here on who instructed the police to block MPs,” he said, at the Dewan Rakyat siting today.
On Aug 2, the police closed all roads leading to the Parliament after it was ordered to be closed due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
Azhar made the call to close the august house for two weeks, which was not well received by Pakatan lawmakers.
Subsequently, they held a gathering near Dataran Merdeka to decry the matter. The police later issued a RM3,000 compound to the MPs for violating COVID-19 standard operating procedure (SOP).
However, Hamzah’s explanation today was not well-received by Pakatan MPs, who pointed out to the former that they would not have held a public gathering if allowed to enter Parliament.
PAC chairman Wong Kah Woh told Hamzah that he was supposed to hold two meetings at the Parliament then, with one involving MOH director general Tan Sri Noor Hisham Abdullah on the COVID-19 status in Malaysia.
Wong, who is also Ipoh Timur MP, stressed that the meetings had approval from Azhar himself.
“I even produced the authorisation letters to the police but I was told to leave the area within minutes or risk getting arrested,” he claimed.
Port Dickson MP Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim also stood up and asked the Speaker since when the Opposition Leader was disallowed from entering his office space at the premises.
Answering the queries, Azhar stated that he never instructed the Parliament from being closed to the MPs.
“I have even instructed Dewan Rakyat secretary to keep the premises open as I understand some of you keep your belongings here.”
On that note, Hamzah said the Government would reduce the compound levelled against the MPs, taking into consideration of the confusion that happened.
“But we can’t revoke the compound, as per my discussion with the Health Minister. We cannot be seen to be practicing double standards,” the Larut MP remarked. – Sept 14, 2021.