Emergency Issues: Dewan Rakyat Special Sitting Adjourned to Monday

KUALA LUMPUR: The Special Meeting of the Dewan Rakyat today, which was scheduled to discuss the socio-economic issues of the people, changed topic after the focus shifted to the issue of emergency ordinances following a statement issued by the Istana Negara.

Today’s conference, according to the Order Paper, commenced with the presentation by Finance Minister, Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, on economic assistance packages, and then provided clarification, as asked for by several members of Parliament (MPs), which lasted for about two and a half hours.

The remaining time of the conference saw the session adjourned five times, according to Standing Order 12 (2), starting at 12.30 pm, before Deputy Speaker, Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon, at 5.15 pm, announced that the sitting was adjourned to Monday at 10 am.

Initially, an adjournment was made by Mohd Rashid, citing Standing Order 12 (2), after an uproar ensued in the House after Opposition Leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PH-Port Dickson), rose to read the full text of the statement issued by the Istana Negara.

The statement said that Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah had expressed utmost disappointment over a statement made last Monday in Parliament, that all ordinances made under the ongoing emergency had been revoked without His Majesty’s consent.

His Majesty stressed that the application for the revocation of all emergency ordinances had been made in haste, without presentation to Parliament.

Al Sultan Abdullah also stressed that the contradictory and misleading statements in Parliament (by the government) not only failed to respect the principle of the rule of law contained in the Rukun Negara, but also ignored His Majesty’s functions and powers as the Head of State, as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

The sitting, which was supposed to resume after 15 minutes, was adjourned again by Mohd Rashid to 2.30 pm, and Deputy Speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, who entered the hall after the break, further adjourned the session to 3.30 pm.

While many MPs and the public waited for the meeting to resume, Mohd Rashid, who presided over the sitting after it was resumed at 3.30 pm, announced the meeting had to be postponed again to 5.15 pm on the grounds that there was a positive COVID-19 case among Parliament staff, and instructed all those in the Parliament Building to undergo a swab test.

Mohd Rashid, when announcing that the meeting was postponed for the fifth time, also said that in the results of the screening carried out at the Parliament Building today, two more positive COVID-19 cases were detected.

Earlier, Tengku Zafrul, at a briefing session, explained that eight aid and economic stimulus packages, worth RM530 billion, have been implemented since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country, proving that the government listens and acts so that the people and the economy continue to survive during this challenging period.

Lim Guan Eng (PH-Bagan), when asking for clarification from Tengku Zafrul, wanted the government to pay attention to the interest-free moratorium and the economy before and post-COVID-19, besides suggesting that additional allowances should be allocated by the government to all frontliners, as a show of appreciation of their crucial role.

While the fourth day of the Special Meeting was postponed until 5.30 pm, it is understood that a meeting of Cabinet ministers took place at the Prime Minister’s residence.

In a related development, Anwar, during a press conference at the Parliament, said that he had submitted a motion to Speaker, Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun, stating that the Dewan Rakyat has lost confidence in Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and that he should resign as Prime Minister immediately.

Following the situation, Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, as the government’s chief whip, issued a statement stating that the government has the support of more than 110 members of Parliament.

“Therefore, I hope the people will remain calm in the face of the current situation, and together we pray that this political crisis ends soon,” he said.