Opposition MPs object to new seating arrangements in Dewan Rakyat

(FMT) – Opposition MPs today objected to the change in their seating arrangements in the Dewan Rakyat, asking why MPs from the government bloc were not similarly repositioned.

RSN Rayer (PH-Jelutong) raised the matter under Standing Order 2, saying opposition MPs had been seated at the speaker’s left on the first day of the sitting.

“The seating was comfortable but there were no mics or computers.

“Now we are seated at the public gallery, which is not comfortable,” he told speaker Azhar Harun.

“As for Barisan Nasional MPs, there is no social distancing,” he added. “I agree that health SOPs need to be followed, but don’t use that to curb access to the facilities given to us.”

However, Azhar said the changes were made following complaints as some MPs had been seated at blind spots where they were blocked by pillars.

He also said the seating arrangements had been made with “good intentions” so that everyone could see each other.

“I have placed as many mics as possible,” he said, adding that he had spoken to party heads before making the decision.

“There is no intention of curbing voices.”

He also said he could change the seating arrangements again if they were not suitable.

But Rayer asked why the seating arrangements of government MPs had not been changed.

“They (government MPs) can sit at their places. Why only the opposition seating? As a man of the law, I hope you will be fair,” he said, adding that the facilities at the public gallery were not conducive to debates.

Azhar assured him that he would look into the seating arrangements.