No more delay seen on Parliament sitting

While there are procedures and protocols to be followed in calling for the reconvening of Parliament, the King does not need to specify per se the date


THE government is expected to take the necessary steps needed to enable a parliamentary session as soon as practicable in line with the views of the King and Rulers.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia geostrategist Assoc Prof Dr Azmi Hassan said the term used by the King about the opening of the Parliament — “as soon as possible” — is common sense.

The Royal Highness does not need to specify per se the date.

Azmi said while there are procedures and protocols to be followed in calling for the convening of the Parliament, including a notice to Parliament staff and MPs, there should be a sense of urgency for the government to do so.

“The most important thing is that steps are taken by those who should do that, to reconvene the Parliament as soon as possible.

“It is very childish and unbecoming of a person who is trying to say that ‘as soon as possible’ could mean anything.

“And for a minister to say that, I think it is very unbecoming. We should use our common sense to no more dilly-dally, reconvene the Parliament because it is important to help the government in handling the pandemic,” Azmi told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

He opined that the King’s wish for the Parliament to convene is for the country to move forward, not for any group to question the legitimacy of the prime minister (PM).

Minister in the PM’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan had said: “The King did not specify which month the sitting should be held. He only said as soon as possible.”

Takiyuddin reiterated that PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had expressed commitment to call for Parliament sitting in September or October, stated under the National Recovery Plan.

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah, with the full backing of the Conference of Rulers asked that Parliament be reconvened.

The nine Malay Rulers also said in a separate statement that they did not see the necessity to put the nation under the Emergency beyond Aug 1.

In response, the PM’s Office said in a statement that the government will take follow-up steps based on the Federal Constitution and the country’s laws over the matter.

The Presidential Council of Pakatan Harapan (PH) has urged PM Muhyiddin to call for Parliament sitting soonest possible or step down from his post.

“If the PM continues to delay or give excuses to delay the parliamentary session, it not only means he has set aside views of the King, in fact it gives the impression that the PM has lost confidence to govern,” the presidential council said in a statement, jointly issued by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Mohamad Sabu and Lim Guan Eng.

Prof Dr Shamrahayu Abdul Aziz, the incumbent Institution of the Malay Rulers chair at Universiti Teknologi Mara, said there are two laws in consideration to determine who could set the date to open the Parliament — the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 and the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives.

Section 14(1)(b) of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 stated that the provision relating to summoning, prorogation and dissolution of Parliament shall not have an effect and the Parliament shall be summoned, prorogued and dissolved on a date of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong thinks appropriate.

Section 11 of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives stated the notice for the Parliament to sit would be 28 days and it gives the right to the PM to decide on the date to have a Parliament meeting.

“It looks like we have two different laws. The issue that I am concerned about is the Standing Orders have not been cited anywhere in the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance to have no effect.

“It must be the concern of a legal decision to decide which law to apply. It is probably not something easy to determine who can decide when Parliament can be summoned,” Shamrahayu told TMR.

As it is, she opined that there must be some consultation between the PM and the King and the application of parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia’s Perdana Policy Centre at the Razak Faculty of Technology and Informatics lecturer Assoc Prof Dr Muhammad Fathi Yusof said a decision between the King and PM is normally based on a consultation basis.

Nonetheless, Muhammad Fathi said the PM has responsibilities to pay attention seriously to the views or recommendations from the King based on the Conference of Rulers meeting, although the PM still has the right to set the date whenever he deems fit.