PMO and Palace in a deadlock over Emergency

The King asserts that the statement made by the minister in the Parliament on July 26 was inaccurate and had confused lawmakers


THE government and the Palace appear to be at an impasse over the Emergency Ordinances (EOs) revocation.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) yesterday said all of the actions relating to the EOs revocation were conducted properly and in accordance with the Federal Constitution.

The PMO said the Yang diPertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah had called the law minister and attorney general (AG) for an audience on July 24 to explain in detail about the advice to rescind the EOs.

It said PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had sent a letter to the King on July 23 to present the advice about revoking the EOs and sought the Royal Highness’ consent.

On July 22, the PMO said it received the draft of the EOs revocation prepared by the AG’s Chambers.

On July 27, a day after Law Minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan told the Dewan Rakyat that the government had decided to revoke all the six EOs during the July 21 Cabinet meeting, the PMO said the PM and AG had an audience with the King to explain the situation and once again presented the advice of the Cabinet to end the Emergency.

“The government is of the view that all the actions taken are in order and in accordance with the provisions of the law and the Federal Constitution,” PMO said in a statement.

The statement was issued after the Palace, in a surprise move that shook the nation, announced that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong did not consent to the revocation of the six EOs, which were done without a debate in Parliament but through a Cabinet meeting on July 21.

A Palace spokesperson said the King is “very disappointed” with the move and asserted that it was unconstitutional.

“The King asserts that the statement made by the minister in the Parliament on July 26 was inaccurate and had confused the members of the Dewan Rakyat,” Comptroller of the Royal Household Datuk Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin said in a statement yesterday.

He further said the proposals to revoke all the EOs effective July 21, which were made in a hurry without a Parliamentary debate, had failed to uphold the National Principles (Rukun Negara) and bypassed the role and power of the King as the Supreme Head of the Federation under the Constitution.

Ahmad Fadil said the King is aware of the fact that His Royal Highness shall act in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet as per Article 40(1) of the Constitution.

The King also viewed that as the Supreme Head of the Federation, he has a duty to give advice and reprimand if an unconstitutional act is conducted by any party, particularly for those who execute the role and power of the Agong.

The Palace statement prompted the Opposition to demand the PM and Cabinet’s resignation.

Former PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the statement by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong showed that Muhyiddin had deliberately lied to Parliament and should be held responsible over the revocation.

“Although Mahiaddin did not announce the revocation on July 26 and it was made by the de-facto Law Minister Takiyuddin, Mahiaddin cannot absolve himself of the responsibility.

“He made no attempt to correct it when Takiyuddin made the announcement, or stop Takiyuddin despite being seated right in front of him. Neither did Mahiaddin make any clarification in the following days,” Dr Mahathir said in a statement yesterday.

Therefore, the Langkawi MP said it is incumbent upon the PM to resign and his Cabinet members must follow suit following the “shameful act”.

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the incident proved that the Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) administration does not abide by the Constitution nor respect the Royal institution.

“The PM was not speaking the truth and we have no choice but to ask him to resign,” Anwar said in the Dewan Rakyat.

The Port Dickson MP has sent a letter to the Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun to express his intention to table a motion of removing Muhyiddin as the PM, claiming that Muhyiddin has lost the majority’s confidence.

Lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) that he viewed there is no other option for Muhyiddin and Cabinet members besides resigning.

He said the King has a very important role in the declaration or revocation of an Emergency. At the same time, he said the government has committed treason and fraud due to misrepresentation to the Parliament.

If Muhyiddin resigns, Mohamed Haniff said he will resign during an Emergency period.

The lawyer said the King could extend the Emergency and appoint an advisory council to advise him on the administration.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia geostrategist Assoc Prof Dr Azmi Hassan said it was an unprecedented situation for the Palace having to clarify what was said in the Parliament.

“To say unprecedented is very much an understatement. It was very shocking. Somebody has to take responsibility.

“As far as I can see, the minimum that can happen is Takiyuddin bears the responsibility. I don’t know how it could be, to resign as the minister? As an MP? He needs to apologise to the Agong,” Azmi told TMR.

He said this is a very serious matter that needs to be answered now and then.

“Somebody is lying here. We know who is lying or trying to mislead the Parliament and the people,” he added.

Meanwhile, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, as the government chief whip, said the government still has the support of more than 110 MPs who are still with the government.

Ismail Sabri’s remarks contradicted Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s statement in saying the party is very disappointed and demanding Muhyiddin to “step down honourably” after committing a form of treason against the King and undermining the Constitution.

He also urged Umno MPs to act in line with the party’s Supreme Council decision on July 7 to withdraw support for Muhyiddin as the PM.

The Bagan Datuk MP said the decision is made to fulfil the oath of office as an MP who must express loyalty to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, and preserve, protect and defend the Constitution at all times.

Umno ministers in the PN administration include Ismail Sabri, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar.

The Parliament sitting was adjourned three times, once before the lunch break and twice in the afternoon, before Health DG Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah notified the House Speaker that two positive Covid-19 cases were detected among Parliament staff.

Subsequently, the Parliament was told that four new Covid cases were detected after the mass test, resulting in the special session to be adjourned until Monday.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz’s presentation about the update on the economic stimulus packages was left unconcluded as the minister’s question time and the wrap-up session were cut short.