Perikatan Nasional may have just temporarily removed itself from power by saying it has “revoked” all emergency ordinances, noted lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla.
The revocation itself has also come into question.
Under the emergency, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had given the administrative power vested in him to the government via Section 11 of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021.
With this important section gone, Haniff said Malaysia was effectively left with no government until Aug 1.
“The power to administer the nation during the emergency was vested by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to the government under Muhyiddin Yassin pursuant to Section 11.
“When they say they have repealed or revoked (all ordinances) from July 21, this means Section 11 is gone.
“So, the constitutional crisis is we do not have any institute who can administer the nation from July 21 to Aug 1,” he analysed.
According to the Federal Constitution, Haniff told Malaysiakini that administrative powers during an emergency are returned to the Agong.
“The power goes back to the Agong. So, if within the next 10 minutes, the king appoints you or me to run the country, this is valid until Aug 1,” he said.
De facto Law Minister Takiyuddin Hassan’s announcement this morning shocked Dewan Rakyat.
He also said it was thus “no longer relevant” to vote to annul the ordinances.
Without having to vote on the emergency ordinances, PN potentially saved itself from losing the vote, given that many of its members were absent today.
In its attempt to avoid this vote, Haniff said PN may have just inadvertently turned the gun on itself.
“You yourself are the one holding the power, you yourself saying that we have revoked it. That means you are saying there is nobody running the country from now until Aug 1.
“The party which carried out the process – which is wrong – they themselves have committed suicide,” he said.
Did minister ‘mislead’ Dewan Rakyat?
Haniff, who often represents Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) chairperson Dr Mahathir Mohamad, was one of the several lawyers who questioned the revocation process.
Emergency ordinances can only be revoked in one of two ways: Either the Agong revokes it and a gazette is published, or both Parliament houses vote to annul it.
Despite Takiyuddin’s announcement, there is no record of the revocation gazette on the Attorney General’s Chambers’ website.
The July 21 date suggests that the revocation was done during last Wednesday’s cabinet meeting, though the PM usually has an audience with the Agong before such meetings.
Without sight of any gazette on the matter, lawyer New Sin Yew questioned if the revocation was valid and if Takiyuddin had “misled” the Dewan Rakyat with his announcement.
“Any revocation must be signed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. It was the Agong who promulgated it so it should be him that revokes it. Cabinet cannot act unilaterally and bypass the king.
“If he had revoked it then it needs to be published in the gazette for it to take effect. It will only take effect and come into operation from the date of the publication in the gazette.
“Until these are done, it cannot be said that there has been revocation,” he said in a comment to Malaysiakini.
“I think he is misleading the Dewan Rakyat,” New added.
Lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar similarly questioned in a tweet if the “revocation” was legitimate.
DAP-linked lawyer Syahredzan Johan further asked why the government waited six days to inform the public about this.
“In that period, how many people have been compounded, arrested, had items seized and publications taken down based on these laws that the government claims it has ‘revoked’?
“Will the government pay compensation to those who have been implicated under these cancelled emergency ordinances?” he asked in a Facebook post.
“The rakyat have the right to know if there are any changes in the law through gazettes or at least an announcement. This is not like sending a message in a WhatsApp group and asking people to forward it. These laws affect 32 million Malaysian people!” Syahredzan added.