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Quarantined ministers enter Malaysia Parliament, opposition walks out

KUALA LUMPUR: Two Malaysian ministers who should have been in quarantine after being exposed to the coronavirus voted in Parliament in wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) yesterday, triggering an opposition walkout.

Officials allowed them to take part in a key Budget vote - provided they wore gowns, masks, shields and gloves.

But the sitting quickly descended into pandemonium, with opposition MPs shouting out in protest and most deciding to leave the Chamber rather than cast their votes.

"It is a black day for democracy in Malaysia because there is no rule of law," opposition lawmaker Xavier Jayakumar said.

Besides Health Minister Adham Baba and Human Resources Minister M. Saravanan, one opposition MP who should have been in quarantine also turned up in Parliament in PPE gear - Mr P. Prabakaran from Pakatan Harapan.

The Parliament Speaker insisted that safeguards had been taken, including having the lawmakers transported in an ambulance and placed in a special room, Bernama reported.

He rejected attempts to stop the vote, which the government easily won after the walkout.

RIVALS TEAM UP

Meanwhile, old time rivals former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad and the most senior MP from Umno, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, have teamed up before the Budget is to be passed today.

The two men said they are ready to form a "unity government" if the Budget fails to be passed. But they stopped short of saying they were looking to secure a parliamentary majority to form the next government.

Malaysia yesterday reported 1,371 Covid-19 cases, taking the total to 84,846. There were four deaths taking the toll to 419. - AFP, THE STAR

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