Deputy speaker rejects call for parliament to meet over emergency law

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Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azalina Othman Said today rejected Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan’s request for a special parliamentary sitting to debate issues surrounding the Emergency Ordinance.

In a letter dated January 19, Azalina said only the Yang di-Pertuan Agong could call for such a meeting.

She added that the federal constitution states that a state of emergency proclaimed by the king may not be challenged.

“It has to be emphasised that according to provision 14(1) of the Ordinance, which was recently promulgated by the YDPA, parliament may only be called when it is deemed necessary by the YDPA,” she said.

“In my view the chances of the YDPA calling for a parliamentary sitting in the near future or cancelling the proclamation of emergency in the near future are very slim.

Seth Akmal/TMI

“Because of the aforementioned reasons and with all due respect I reject and disagree with the application on this issue as requested by YB Pontian through a letter dated January 18,” she said, referring to Ahmad by his constitution.

Ahmad in a January 18 letter to the speaker said parliament must convene to debate the constitutionality of the emergency declaration as well as the impact of the law on democracy.

Instead, Azalina suggested other actions be taken by her fellow Umno MPs that can be brought to the Agong’s attention.

“I would suggest a special bipartisan committee to advice the Agong on matters pertaining to the constitution and the people’s freedom of rights. It can consist of members of the Dewan Rakyat or the State Legislative Assemblies.