King wants Parliament to convene before August 1, says Anwar

THE Yang di-Pertuan Agong wants Parliament to convene before August 1 so that MPs can debate the proclamation of emergency and the ordinances passed under it, said Anwar Ibrahim.

August 1 is the expiry of the state of emergency which came into effect nationwide on January 11 to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. Parliament and all legislative assembly sittings have been suspended since then by way of an emergency ordinance.

“So that the proclamation of emergency and the emergency ordinances can be debated, it means (Parliament must meet) before August 1. We have to debate the ordinances before August 1. This means that Parliament must convene as soon as possible with a short notice,” said the PKR president in a Facebook video on the king’s decree that Parliament should meet “as soon as possible”.

The Agong first issued the decree on June 16 after a special meeting of the Conference on Rulers on the state of the country amid the worsening Covid-19 pandemic and no parliamentary oversight.

The king reiterated the matter today after a meeting with Dewan Rakyat speaker Azhar Azizan Harun and Dewan Negara president Rais Yatim, stressing that guidelines and standard operating procedures should be put in place by the government for Parliament to meet.

The king also cited Article 150 of the federal constitution, whereby the emergency proclamation and related ordinances must be tabled in Parliament.

“The king is merely voicing the opinions of a majority of lawmakers and the general public,” Anwar said.

“He understands the suffering of the people and those who are not snobbish (unlike) cabinet ministers and the attorney-general, who gives arrogant answers,” the Opposition leader and Port Dickson MP added.

Anwar added that Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin should resign immediately if the government fails to heed the king’s decree.

Muhyiddin has said that the earliest Parliament can convene is sometime in September or October, under Phase 3 of the government’s National Recovery Plan to ease movement restrictions.

The reopening of the country will happen in phases depending on the number of daily infections, vaccination rate and the capacity of the healthcare system.

Last week, Azhar and Rais said the earliest parliament can convene is end-August or September. They said the Parliament office has set up a special committee to hold hybrid proceedings.

However, Attorney-General Idrus Harun has said that the king must act on the advice of the cabinet in calling for Parliament to convene. THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT

Forget hybrid Parliament idea, PM should enable sitting next week, DAP MP says

KUALA LUMPUR— The federal government should just drop the idea of implementing the hybrid sitting of Parliament idea which would further delay its reopening to late August or early September, Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh said today.

He pointed out that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had today repeated his stand — originally made about two weeks ago — that Parliament needs to reconvene as soon as possible.

On June 16, Istana Negara had issued a statement on behalf of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong saying Parliament meetings should be held as quickly as possible.

The palace posted excerpts from the June 16 statement, highlighting the Agong’s views for the Parliament to be reconvened as soon as possible, on June 18.

On June 25, Dewan Negara president Tan Sri Rais Yatim and Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun issued a joint statement proposing a special Parliament sitting in early August to pave the way for a hybrid Parliament.

Both House speakers also said that a hybrid Parliament sitting is possible only in late August or in the first week of September at the very latest, as preparations need to be made.

Ramkarpal said the fact that both Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara speakers had spoken of the special Parliament sitting in early August to discuss the technicalities of implementing a hybrid Parliament meant that MPs could actually have physical meetings.

“This clearly indicates that Parliament can sit physically and since all Members of Parliament have been vaccinated, there ought to be nothing to prevent an emergency sitting for at least a week to debate matters relating to the management of Covid and the said Emergency Ordinances,” he said.

Yesterday, de facto law minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan was reported by local daily New Straits Times as saying that a notice to reconvene Parliament could only be issued after Emergency ends as the related laws would come into force again after that, also reported as saying that the prime minister would decide on a suitable date to reconvene before notifying the speaker who would then notify MPs within 28 days before the sitting convenes.

Ramkarpal however indicated that Parliament’s own rules allow for a Parliament sitting to be held urgently on a shorter notice instead of the 28 days.

“This is unnecessary as the said 28 day notice can be dispensed with under Order 9(2)(a) of the Standing Orders of the Dewan Rakyat.

“Indeed, this was done when an emergency sitting of Parliament was had following the MH17 tragedy in 2014.

“In light of the above, I urge the Prime Minister to advise the King to convene an emergency sitting of Parliament which can be held as soon as early July,” the DAP national legal bureau chairman said.

“The government should abandon the idea of a hybrid sitting of Parliament in light of the grave urgency that has arisen as a result of the pandemic, as such a hybrid sitting will take months to materialise.

“The Prime Minister should act now and enable Parliament to sit as early as next week,” he said, adding that this will give effect to the Agong’s views that it is imperative for Parliament to sit as soon as possible. MALAY MAIL