Emergency revocation remains contentious as lawmakers demand proof

by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE absence of written proof on the revocation of the Emergency Ordinances (EOs) remains a contentious issue in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

MPs took issue with the lack of written proof provided by de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan, who yesterday announced that based on Article 150(3) of the Federal Constitution, the government has revoked all EOs made during the state of emergency which commenced on Jan 12, 2021.

The lawmakers also queried whether the King has consented to the revocation of the Emergency.

However, Takiyuddin told the lower house that he would only disclose all details in the upcoming session on Monday.

“Yesterday, the Dewan Speaker made a ruling instructing me to answer on Monday.

I humbly request, in order to be fair to the government, for me to give the explanation on Monday.”

While moderating the heated session, Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said said as an MP, she is also in “the same situation” with the public and the Opposition, indicating that she is also not aware of the revocation.

“I’m also an MP and am in a similar situation with many lawyers and public on social media, who are asking similar questions.

“But, since we are using a democratic system, I was informed that the Dewan Speaker has instructed the law minister to give an explanation on this matter on Monday.”

Takiyuddin said all the six EOs have been revoked during a Cabinet meeting on July 21.

Checks on Dewan Rakyat’s website showed that the six ordinances were recorded in the order paper as agenda to be discussed for the sitting dated July 26, but were removed from Monday’s order paper.

In a point of order, Semporna MP Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal reiterated his argument that the onus is on the King to announce the revocation as the proclamation of Emergency was made by him.

Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil also highlighted the implications on the compounds issued, of which each reached thousands of ringgit and whether the offenders are still accountable to pay the fines.

“Quoting media reports, more than 2,200 compounds were issued between July 21 and July 26 with each amounting more than RM1,000.

“If we wait until Monday, what will happen to these people? Clearly, we cannot wait until next week if the minister says the ordinances have already been revoked.”

Fahmi was referring to the ruling made by Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun, who has also come under fire when he instructed Takiyuddin to answer all questions related to the ordinances on the last day of the special meeting for the lower house.

Jelutong MP RSN Rayer revealed that the legal advisors in several states also have not been made aware of the revocation and the offenders to the Covid-19 standard operating procedures are still being charged.

Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo, who is a practising lawyer, cited several law cases to make a point on the jurisdiction of revoking the ordinances vests in the King.

“This is a very important question as it involves public interest and we want to know whether what happened on July 21 was approved by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and whether it was done in accordance with the Federal Constitution.

“If they have been revoked, why is the document not on our tables so we know when it was revoked? This is a matter of public importance.”

In a press conference, former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak went as far as questioning the legitimacy of the government.

“The question is also whether the legal process has been practiced or done (in this matter because) any repeal of the Emergency Ordinance must have the full consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and gazetted. This is not clarified.

“Furthermore, whether the repeal of this Emergency Ordinance can be ‘backdated’ or delayed, whether this can be done because of its implications for any action taken by the authorities after July 21 may be questionable or even legally revoked.”

Separately, Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah requested to switch seats in the Dewan Rakyat away from the government’s bloc.

“From the very beginning, I never supported or was with the government under the name ‘Perikatan Nasional’. I do not yet know whether other Dewan Rakyat members from my party have dealt with YB Mr Speaker (sic) about their seats in the Dewan Rakyat.”