THE onus is now on Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to call for a Parliament sitting, following Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s remarks that the House can convene during emergency, said analysts.
“The federal government should heed the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s advice to reconvene Parliament,” said Ilham Centre executive director Hisommudin Bakar.
“This is also a test of the government’s ability to deal with the different issues,” he added.
The Ilham pollster was commenting on Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al Mustafa Billah Shah’s statement yesterday that Parliament can meet during a state of emergency.
“His Majesty has stated his view that Parliament can convene during the emergency on a date that His Majesty deems suitable, on the advice of the prime minister,” said Fadil.
The statement comes 46 days after the Agong acquiesced to the government’s request to declare a state of emergency until August 1 as a coronavirus containment measure.
On January 12, Muhyiddin said in a live telecast that Parliament and state assemblies cannot meet until a date is set by the king.
Parliament was initially scheduled to sit from March 8 to April 8 before the government mooted a state of emergency last month.
Hisommudin, however, is unsure whether the government will stretch the sitting until the six-month deadline for Parliament to reconvene ends on June 29.
“Under normal circumstances or in a situation where there is no emergency, Parliament has to sit every six months or face automatic dissolution.
“But under a state of emergency (articles 14 and 15 of the Emergency Ordinance), all the provisions pertaining to Parliament and state assemblies are suspended.
“So, it will be interesting whether Muhyiddin will call for a sitting next month or keep silent all the way to June,” said Hisommudin.
Dewan Rakyat finished its last meeting on December 17, 2020 while Dewan Negara had its last meeting on December 29.
He said it was likely that Muhyiddin will push all the way to June as his government does not have sufficient parliamentary support. This is after two Umno MPs withdrew their support for him late last year.
“If Muhyiddin does allow Parliament to sit soon, his government will have to face the criticisms for how it has handled the Covid-19 pandemic and the various economic problems.
“The threat by Umno to withdraw their support is very worrying for the government,” said Hisommudin.
Universiti Malaya’s Prof Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi agreed it was now up to Muhyiddin to propose a date for Parliament to sit again.
“He may have to get feedback from the National Security Council to determine when to let Parliament sit again.
“But if the government dissolves Parliament before it meets, it would pave the way for the 15th general election,” said the political science lecturer.
He said it was highly possible Muhyiddin may hang on until June before doing this.
“Bersatu has a lot of political considerations and will need PAS to back it up as Umno has already said that it doesn’t want to be with Perikatan Nasional in the next GE,” said Awang Azman.
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT