Home English News “Time closing for Muhyiddin govt…to avoid constitutional crisis” – Lim Kit Siang

“Time closing for Muhyiddin govt…to avoid constitutional crisis” – Lim Kit Siang

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Media Statement by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday 19th June 2021

Time is closing in for the Muhyiddin government to call for an emergency Cabinet meeting to comply with the Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders with the requisite 28 days’ notice to convene Parliament on July 19 and avoid any constitutional crisis

Time is closing in for the Muhyiddin government to call for an emergency Cabinet meeting to comply with the Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders with the requisite 28 days’ notice and to convene Parliament on July 19, 2021 and avoid any constitutional crisis in the country.

The Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders provide that the Prime Minister will decide, at least 28 days in advance, when the Dewan Rakyat should meet, which means that tomorrow Sunday 20th June 2021 is the deadline for the Prime Minister to convene Parliament on July 19 and comply with the Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders on the 28 days’ requisite notice.

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If the Cabinet meets on Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, it will not be able to convene the Dewan Rakyat on July 19 and comply with the Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders with the 28 days’ requisite notice, although it will still be possible to convene Parliament for the last ten days of July from July 22 – 30, 2021.

It has been argued that by using the Emergency Ordinance, this requirement of requisite 28 days’ notice can be set aside.

It must have shocked the world, just as it had shocked Malaysians, that the Yang di Pertuan Agong’s decree that the suspended Parliament ought to be reconvened “as soon as possible” to allow MPs to debate the emergency laws and the national recovery plan could be a subject of contention.

From the statements of the PAS Ministers, they have taken a position that the Yang di Pertuan Agong’s decree is in line with the Muhyiddin government’s stand that Parliament could be convened in September or October under Phase Three of the National Recovery Plan.

So far the Prime Minister and the other Perikatan Nasional Cabinet Ministers have not made public their interpretation of ASAP in this context.

Apart from the PAS leadership, nobody seems to have any problem as to what the Yang di Pertuan Agong meant with regard to the convening of Parliament ASAP. Why is this so?

This is not the first time that the Yang di Pertuan Agong had said that Parliament should meet despite the state of the emergency – as the Yang di Pertuan Agong had expressed this view when he met the President of Senate Rais Yatim and the Speaker of Parliament Azhar Azizan Harun in February.

It is shocking to see PAS Ministers trying to stretch the meaning of “as soon as possible” (ASAP) to embrace September or October under Phase Three of the National Recovery Plan.

But there are four objections to such an elastic expansion of the meaning of “ASAP”, viz:

  •  A Parliament convened after the end of emergency on August 1 will not comply with Article 150(3) which require the emergency ordinances to be laid before Parliament.
  •  The Yang di Pertuan Agong and the Rulers did not subject the convening of Parliament and the State Assemblies to the ending of emergency or the improvement of the Covid-19 situation.
  •  The Prime Minister had not convened Parliament in September or October but merely announced in his live national telecast on the eve of the Conference of Rulers special meeting that Parliament could be convened in September or October under Phase Three of the National Recovery Plan if three conditions are met: an average of less than 2,000 Covid-19 cases daily, sufficient ICU capacity and up to 40 percent of the population fully vaccinated. If these three conditions are not met, Parliament will not be convened in September or October.
  • The Covid-19 situation is worsening, with a daily increase of 6,440 new Covid-19 cases and 74 new Covid-19 deaths yesterday – about three times more cases than the 2,232 new Covid-19 cases on January 11 when emergency was proclaimed, and about 19 times the four deaths on the first day of the Emergency.

The Prime Minister should not tarry and delay but should immediately hold an emergency Cabinet meeting to convene Parliament on July 19 for the country to start anew and unite Malaysians to win the war against Covid-19 pandemic. Any other interpretation of ASAP in the Yang di Pertuan Agong’s decree to convene Parliament will divide Malaysians further.

 

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