Tengku Razaleigh: Agong can set date to reconvene Parliament without PM’s advice

KUALA LUMPUR — The Yang di-Pertuan Agong does not require advice from the prime minister to call a sitting in Parliament, veteran Umno lawmaker Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah asserted this evening.

The Gua Musang MP was responding to the King’s statement earlier today, clarifying that Parliament can sit during the current state of Emergency after the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government suspended its operations.

“In fact, it is the power of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as stipulated under the Constitution, to call for a Parliament sitting without getting advice from the prime minister, what more in a situation where a state of Emergency has been declared.

“The decision on an appropriate meeting date can be decided by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong,” Tengku Razaleigh said in a statement welcoming the royal decree from the palace.

In the statement, Sultan Abdullah said Parliament could reconvene even during the Emergency upon the advice of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

There have been several suits filed in court challenging the PN government’s decision to suspend Parliament during the Emergency.

Outside court, other lawmakers allied with the ruling PN, including Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said has openly criticised Parliament’s suspension.

She penned a letter earlier this month addressed to Attorney-General Tan Sri Idrus Harun criticising his advice to the PN government, saying he should have offered suggestions to enable Parliament to sit during the Emergency that was called purportedly to combat the health and economic crises brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Azalina pointed out that many other governments in countries with worse Covid-19 cases than Malaysia’s had continued with parliamentary sittings, and cited the UK as an example. -

Parliament can convene during emergency, says Agong

Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said the Parliament sitting can convene during the emergency order.

In a statement, the Comptroller of the Royal Household Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin said the king has stated his view that Parliament can resume on a date deemed suitable by the ruler upon the advice of the prime minister.

Fadil added that the king had granted an audience to Dewan Negara speaker Rais Yatim and Dewan Rakyat speaker Azhar Azizan Harun at Istana Negara today.

He said the matter was enshrined in subparagraph 14(1)(b) of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 which states that Parliament should be called, prorogued and dissolved on a date as deemed appropriate by His Majesty on the advice of the prime minister.

This was because the king had consented to the emergency on Jan 12 merely as a proactive measure to curb the Covid-19 outbreak which has claimed over 1,000 lives, he added.

The move to suspend Parliament had irked many lawmakers on both sides of the divide, who accused Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin of using the emergency to prevent his government from falling.

The Perikatan Nasional government was on the verge of collapsing after several lawmakers withdrew their support.

The lawmakers were Padang Rengas MP Nazri Aziz, Machang MP Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub and Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.

Their withdrawal reduced the number of lawmakers backing Muhyiddin to only 109.

Both former prime ministers Najib Abdul Razak and Dr Mahathir Mohamad have slammed Muhyiddin for suspending Parliament during the emergency.

Several parties such as electoral watchdog Bersih, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, and Mahathir’s stalwart supporter Khairuddin Abu Hassan had filed court challenges over the validity of Muhyiddin’s advice for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to proclaim the present emergency.

Last month, Anwar claimed that a majority of MPs had appealed to the king to reverse royal assent for the emergency and that a letter was sent to the Agong to reconsider the proclamation.

The emergency is in effect until August. A special committee has been formed to advise the king on the emergency order and when it should end.

Meanwhile, the Pakatan Harapan presidential council called on Muhyiddin to immediately advise the king to call for the Parliament sitting by March as consented by the king in the parliamentary calendar prior to the emergency.

The council stated so in a statement signed by Anwar, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu, and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.

Separately, Umno’s Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah also welcomed the palace’s statement but pointed out that His Majesty has the power under the Federal Constitution to call for a parliamentary sitting without any advice from the prime minister.

This is especially the case during an emergency, he said in a statement today.

“The Yang di-Pertuan Agong may determine a suitable date for the sitting,” he added.  MKINI