Speaker strikes back on ’80 limit’, calls out MPs over poor attendance

(FMT) – Dewan Rakyat speaker Azhar Harun today took to task MPs who had criticised the move to limit the number of members in the house, saying some of them had not even been attending the sittings.

He pointed out how in the past, the sittings could not be held due to a lack of quorum.

“The quorum needs 26 MPs but sometimes there is no quorum especially at 2.30pm (after lunch hour), but suddenly now it is a big issue.

“Every day, we don’t see 222 MPs during proceedings. At most there are about 100 to 120 MPs, and they are not even here from 10am to 5.30pm. They come and go,” he said.

Azhar was responding to Hassan Karim (PH-Pasir Gudang), who said limiting every sitting to 80 MPs was against Articles 96 and 97 of the constitution.

He corrected Hassan, saying that Article 96 was on taxes while Article 97 was on consolidated funds under the finance ministry.

Last week, Azhar made a ruling that only 80 MPs will be allowed in the Dewan Rakyat during the tabling of the 2021 budget and subsequent debates, to help curb the spread of Covid-19.

However, moments before Tengku Zafrul Aziz made his budget speech, MPs from both the opposition and government spoke up on the need to have all the members present, and the speaker eventually relented.