MPs blocked from Parliament

Umno to hold virtual meeting of its Supreme Council today at 4pm to discuss the EOs revocation and Parliament sitting postponement, among others


OPPOSITION lawmakers were blocked by riot police from going to Parliament yesterday after the government declared the building unsafe due to Covid-19 and suspended the scheduled special sitting of the Dewan Rakyat over the weekend.

The MPs called the suspension of Parliament due to Covid-19 an excuse to escape the Royal call for matters concerning the Emergency to be debated this week.

In a show of unity, the impromptu gathering representing more than 100 Opposition MPs called for Prime Minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and his entire Cabinet to resign with honour.

Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the number of MPs present indicated that the government has lost the majority in Parliament.

Parti Pejuang Tanah Air chairman and former PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government was automatically dissolved when it violated the Federal Constitution last week by revoking the Emergency Ordinances (EOs) without Royal consent and in secret.

Dr Mahathir said the PN administration is unqualified to govern due to the clashes with the Royal Institution.

“According to the amendment we made previously, if the King rejects a proposal, it must be debated at Dewan Rakyat as to why it was rejected.

“If there is no change regarding the reason for the rejection, Dewan Rakyat will send the motion back to the King. If it has not received the King’s consent in two months, then it becomes a law,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said the revocation of the EOs last week by the de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan without presenting it before Parliament clearly violated this clause.

Muar MP and Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) president Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said the government is denying the people the legitimate platform for their voice.

Semporna MP Shafie Apdal also described the day as a bitter history for Malaysia as the Federal Constitution and Royal Institution were not being upheld in the Parliament.

Takiyuddin caught MPs off guard last week when he said the government had revoked the six EOs on July 21 and sparked anger in many quarters due to the non-transparency.

The King also clarified that he had not consented to the revocation of the EOs, which is unconstitutional.

Following the protest, Parti Warisan Sabah, Muda, United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (Upko) and Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) said the government had failed in handling the virus and administrating the country, which were both reflected during the special Parliament sitting.

In a separate statement, Pejuang said the move by Takiyuddin and Attorney General Tan Sri Idris Harun had breached Article 36(7) of the Dewan Rakyat Standing Order, which prohibits any party from abusing the use of the name of the King, the Malay Rulers, or the head of states for the purpose of influencing the Legislative Council.

Meanwhile, the police said the 107 MPs who gathered at Dataran Merdeka yesterday will be called for questioning.

The Parliament building was ordered to shut down for two weeks from July 29 after Covid-19 cases were detected among its staff last week.

Following what had transpired, Umno will hold a virtual special meeting of its Supreme Council today at 4pm to discuss matters pertaining to the EOs and postponement of Parliament sitting, among others, announced the party secretary general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan.

“This emergency meeting is to discuss the latest political developments, including the Istana Negara media statement, the EOs and the postponement of the Parliament meeting.”

Malay daily Sinar Harian reported that 30 Barisan Nasional MPs have signed statutory declarations (SDs) in a secret meeting in support of the PM.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia senior lecturer (political study) Dr Mazlan Ali said what had been unfolding could push for the establishment of an interim government as the country’s Covid-19 disaster calls for an emergency.

“With the disturbing number of positive cases, it shows the Covid-19 situation calls for a higher priority to the country than the country’s political interest as we are seeing now.

“It may be rare for Malaysia, but in a situation where the country does not have a commanding-majority leader, the King could call for an interim government, which is likely to happen now,” he told The Malaysian Reserve.

National Council of Professors senior fellow Dr Jeniri Amir opined that signing the SDs is unlikely to bring any weight to the situation until the no-confidence vote against Muhyiddin is tabled at the lower house.

“Anybody can claim they have support from the MPs. What is needed now is for the MPs to convene at the Parliament after the two weeks hiatus given by the Health DG to get the matter voted.

“We need it to be done at the Parliament to settle it once and for all because the rakyat could not take it any longer. People are dying…how long do they have to suffer?”