Malaysia MPs caught in crowd at Najib Razak's 1MDB trial allowed to attend parliament if no COVID-19 symptoms

Malaysia MPs caught in crowd at Najib Razak's 1MDB trial allowed to attend parliament if no COVID-19 symptoms

Kuala Lumpur Court Complex 1MDB crowd
Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak speaks to members of the media after he was found guilty in his corruption trial in Kuala Lumpur on Jul 28, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Mohd Rasfan)

KUALA LUMPUR: Members of parliament (MPs) who were among the crowd at the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex on Tuesday (Jul 28) will not be barred from attending parliament sittings if they do not show COVID-19 symptoms.

"We also do not know whether there were COVID-19 positive people (present at the court compound) who have infected MPs who were together with them yesterday.

"I think as long as it is not proven they (MPs) are COVID-19 positive, we cannot stop them from entering the House,” speaker of parliament Azhar Azizan Harun said on Wednesday.

Scores of supporters had gathered at the court compound on Tuesday morning in solidarity with former prime minister Najib Razak, who was later sentenced to 12 years’ jail in his first 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) corruption trial.

READ: Former Malaysia PM Najib Razak sentenced to 12 years in jail following guilty verdict in 1MDB trial

Najib Razak 1MDB court crowd
Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak speaks to members of the media on Jul 28, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Mohd Rasfan)

Mr Azhar added that it remained important for MPs to abide by the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to prevent the spread of COVID-19, both inside and outside parliament.

When asked if the MPs involved should undergo COVID-19 swab tests, Mr Azhar said it was up to the health ministry to decide.

Footage of the large crowd thronging the court complex on Tuesday was widely shared on social media. Several MPs were seen at the compound, several of whom allegedly did not wear face masks.

READ: 'We believe in our innocence', say Najib and lawyers as they pledge to appeal 1MDB verdict

Najib Razak wearing a face mask
Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak leaves the Duta Court complex after he was found guilty in his corruption trial in Kuala Lumpur on Jul 28, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Fazry Ismail)

The police also had to use loudspeakers to remind the crowd to practise social distancing.

Health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said he was disappointed at the breach of social distancing guidelines at the court compound.

He added that the health ministry would monitor the emergence of positive cases among the supporters within the next two weeks.

READ: Commentary: This is not the end of Najib Razak

A supporter of Najib Razak
A supporter of Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak cries after he was found guilty in his corruption trial in Kuala Lumpur on Jul 28, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Mohd Rasfan)

Dr Noor Hisham said the Malaysian government would have no choice but to enforce the movement control order again if local transmission cases escalate.

“We have been working hard for seven months to prevent the spread, if it happens (third wave) we will have to work hard for another four months and 25,000 health personnel will be recalled to work for 20 hours a day if cases escalate,” he said.

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Source: Agencies/zl

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