Putrajaya must quickly reconcile with palace, say analysts
IT is not in the best interest of the government to prolong its confrontation with the Palace over the revocation of the Emergency Ordinances as it will cause anger among the public and the opposition, analysts said.
They said Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin would do well to obey the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s decree to table and discuss the Emergency Ordinances in Parliament.
Political scientist Prof Dr Wong Chin Huat told The Malaysian Insight it was not advisable for the government to prolong this conflict as this will increase public anger against the prime minister and unite his enemies in the opposition and the government.
He said that the main issue of the problem is the minister (de facto law minister Takiyuddin Hassan) misleading Parliament, adding there are two parts to the constitutional crisis.
“Unlike the passing of bills, there is no limit on when the king needs to give his consent for an emergency proclamation.”
Wong was commenting on statement by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) which said the government had acted in accordance with the legal provisions and federal constitution in revoking the Emergency Ordinances on July 21.
The PMO said the cabinet on July 21 decided not to extend the emergency upon its expiry on August 1, and following that, to advise the Agong to revoke all the related ordinances.
“On July 23, the prime minister had informed the Agong about cabinet’s advice to revoke the ordinances, and urged the king to give his assent,” said the statement.
The Agong, however, said he was not informed of the government’s intention to do so and de facto law minister Takiyuddin Hassan’s announcement on the revocation had caused confusion among lawmakers.
Wong said the royal rebuke concerns the minister, and by extension the cabinet, for misleading Parliament.
“The minister can state the government’s decision to revoke the EOs, but the decision does not translate into revocation without royal consent.
“The government hopes to divert the public attention on the original crisis with the newly revealed crisis. It will not work.”
Wong also warned it would be dangerous if the government contemplates to cancel the Parliament sitting on Monday citing Covid-19.
“Putrajaya should table a motion to annul the EOs instead of dragging it on and trying to force the Palace to give the royal consent for revocation. The minister should own up to his misleading statement.”
Wong said Putrajaya must realise Dewan Rakyat speaker Azahar Azizan Harun’s moves to block no-confidence motions will be irrelevant in mid-September when Parliament meets again for the king’s royal address.
“The royal address must be voted on and a defeat is tantamount to a vote of no-confidence.
“The prime minister should have enough foresight to see six weeks ahead. If he insists on picking on everyone, the majority of Malaysians will be happy to see his government being defeated in the royal address or forced out before that.
By convention, the royal address is usually endorsed by the House without any dissent but the current political climate may compel lawmakers to vote against it in protest against the administration.
“Instead of fearing the opposition, Muhyiddin should be more fearful of rivals within his government, who may quietly hope to see him pushed out sooner.”
Confrontation will deepen public anger
International Islamic University lecturer Dr Tunku Mohar Tunku Mohd Mokhtar said this unelected government’s interest is to stay in power.
“I think if PN keeps prolonging its confrontation with the Palace, the opposition and the public, they would be game for it.
“It may deepen public anger, but the government seems to have calculated its moves and have all the tricks up its sleeves to silence the opposition.
“The media statement it released after its lies were exposed is a testament to this, I think,” he said, referring to the Palace statement that the king had not agreed to revoke the six ordinances.
Mohar said this is a constitutional issue, which can end in a crisis.
“To the government, its advice is the end of the process, and Agong should assent to its revocation of the Emergency Ordinances. The fact remains such assent has not yet been given.
“The government, whose legitimacy is questioned, hides behind the laws to legitimise its action.”
He added this is disrespectful to the legislature when the current sitting was delayed and ordinances revoked to prevent them from being debated in Parliament.
“This sitting looks like nothing more than just a charade. I think the sitting was recessed five times on Thursday so that the cabinet can respond to the media statement by the Agong.
“The Covid tests were done merely to delay the sitting. It gave the cabinet time to draft its response to the media statement by the Agong.
“The government is fortunate in the sense that it could use the so-called SOP to get everyone in the building to be tested for Covid,” he said referring to events on Thursday when the sitting was adjourned five times.
Conflict between government and Palace
Universiti Malaya’s Prof Awang Azman Awang Pawi said although the PMO had submitted a reply to the Agong’s statement, the Palace has stated that the king has not yet given his consent with regard to revoking the EO.
“In fact, the Agong insists on the EO being debated in Parliament as stipulated in article 150(3).
“If without the consent of the Agong and the order of discussion is not implemented, then it is considered a violation of the order of the Agong as long as His Majesty is of such a view.
“This perception of conflict between the government and the Palace cannot be avoided among the people,” said the academic.
He said in order not to worsen the situation or to avoid a bigger crisis, Muhyiddin needs to abide by the king’s order to table and discuss EOs in parliament.
“Muhiyidin defended the actions taken by the law minister and put forward a new narrative – that the Agong needs to listen to the advice of the prime minister and the government.
“However, Istana Negara and the Agong still insist on Article 150(3) that the EO needs to be tabled and debated in Parliament to ensure more transparent governance.”
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT