Govt risks public and royal wrath if Emergency unaddressed

The sudden suspension of the Dewan Rakyat session today does little to correct the public perception that it is not politically motivated

by RAHIMI YUNUS / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE government led by Prime Minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is at risk of fuelling the royal and public’s wrath further over the issue of the Emergency revocation.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia senior lecturer (political study) Dr Mazlan Ali told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) it appeared that some level of misalignment or misunderstanding occurred between the government and the King.

“In the practices of parliamentary democracy with constitutional monarchy, such a situation is not good.

“Malaysians love the King,” he said, “and when any political party goes against him, they will get angry.”

The sudden suspension of the Dewan Rakyat session today — which aims to explain the Emergency revocation — does little to correct the public perception that it is not politically motivated.

Dewan Rakyat secretary Nizam Mydin Bacha Mydin, in a notice issued to all Dewan Rakyat members on Saturday, stated that the special meeting of the Third Session of the 14th Parliament scheduled for today was postponed to a date to be determined later.

He said the adjournment is in line with the proposal of the Health DG and the current risk assessment carried out by the Health Ministry (MoH) following the Covid-19 cases at the Parliament.

Deputy PM (DPM) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said yesterday that the decision to adjourn the special sitting was made based on science and health facts, and there was no political agenda.

“The MoH has a relevant act, Act 342 (Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988), to postpone (Parliament) due to concerns. We do not have a Parliament ‘green bubble’…whereby these people are only allowed to travel from Parliament to go home and not to go anywhere else.

“…and we do not know, if there are those who are positive, they go home and meet family members or perhaps, go to other places such as mosques, supermarkets and so on, which are at risk of spreading the virus to more people,” he said in a Bernama report.

The Malaysian Bar raised the question why hybrid Parliamentary sittings were not agreed to and voted on in the first place.

Its president AG Kalidas noted that the Dewan Rakyat Speaker had stated on July 25 — just one day before Parliament was scheduled to sit — that the proposal to conduct a hybrid session had been deferred and that this matter would not be discussed during the special sitting.

“In light of the Covid-19 infections identified, the failure of Parliament to introduce a motion on hybrid measures, as well as to adopt them, means that Parliament sittings would continue to be postponed and as a result, this is a hindrance towards democracy,” he said in a statement.

MPs during the first day of the highly anticipated special Parliament session were caught off guard when Law Minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan announced that the government had decided during a Cabinet meeting on July 21 to revoke all six Emergency Ordinances (EOs) made during the Emergency proclamation, as provided under Article 150(3) of the Constitution.

In response, the Palace stated that the King did not consent to the EOs revocation. The Palace used strong words to describe how Yang diPertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah was “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 last Thursday.

Subsequently, the PM’s Office responded to the Palace statement by saying that all of the actions relating to the EOs revocation were properly conducted as per the Constitution.

Former PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had said the statement by the Yang diPertuan Agong showed that Muhyiddin had deliberately lied to Parliament and 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 in Dewan Rakyat that “the PM was not speaking the truth and we have no choice but to ask him to resign”.

The Port Dickson MP 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.

With the Parliament’s suspension, the motion brought by Anwar will not come through and the debate on the legality of the EOs revocation remains academic as the Emergency has technically expired yesterday.

Research for Social Advancement expressed concerns over the suspension of the special meeting of the Dewan Rakyat scheduled for today.

“While the government has repeatedly reminded Malaysians to shift our mindsets to live alongside Covid-19, the decision to lock down Parliament runs contrary to calls of embracing this new normal.

“How can the government confidently assure people that workplaces, commercial areas and other economic sectors can remain open in this pandemic if it is reluctant to do the same for Parliament?” it said in a statement yesterday.