Emergency Ordinance: No parliament or DUN meetings

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Emergency Ordinance 2021 grants the King full authority to use all resources at his disposal, provides the Armed Forces with additional powers, and suspends Parliament and DUN sittings.

Bernama

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong has been granted full authority to use all resources at his disposal for any purposes he deems necessary under the newly gazetted Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021.

“For so long as the Emergency is in force, notwithstanding any provision in the Federal Constitution, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or any person authorised by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may demand any resources to be utilised for any purposes the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or any person authorised by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong deems necessary,” item 4 of the ordinance read.

Bernama

The ordinance outlined the type of resources that the Agong can use which are human resources, facilities, utilities and assets and the controller or manager of such human resources, facilities, utilities and assets.

On additional powers of the Armed Forces, it is stated in the Ordinance that: “for as long as the Emergency is in force, the Armed Forces, upon direction by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong or person authorised by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, shall have the powers of a police officer of whatever rank as provided for under the Criminal Procedure Code, and such powers will be in addition to the powers provided for under the Armed Forces Act and not in derogation thereof.”

The Ordinance also allows for the establishment of an independent committee to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the continuing existence of the grave emergency arising from the pandemic.

The ordinance states that any compensation shall be final and cannot be challenged in any court.

It says the King or his representative may exempt a healthcare professional regulated under a law from the requirement to comply with the principal place of practice specified in any annual practising certificate.

It says the King may issue directions for treatment, immunisation, isolation, observation or surveillance under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988.

Any person who violates section 3 or 4 or fails to comply with any demand or direction of the King “commits an offence and shall be liable to a fine not exceeding RM5 million or to a jail term of up to 10 years or both”.

Under the ordinance, the government and its officers are protected against suits and legal proceedings for negligence or default done or omitted in good faith.

It states that the prime minister, the Cabinet and those in the states “exists and have been conferred the executive functions”.

“The legislative functions to make subsidiary legislation under federal laws and state laws shall continue to be exercised by the persons so authorised by such laws,” it says.

The ordinance also states that vacancies to the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara will not be filled.

Parliament’s term for five years as provided under Article 55 of the constitution shall stand dissolved and deleted as long as the emergency is in force, it says.

Any meeting of the Parliament which has been summoned before the coming into operation of this ordinance has also been cancelled.

Both lawyers and lawmakers had since questioned the rationale for the suspension of Parliament since the Emergency was proclaimed.

The questions were raised after the Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun issued a statement yesterday saying that Parliament and state legislative assembly sessions are suspended during the Emergency, but before the gazettement was issued.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced a state of Emergency which he claimed was to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting economic downturn.

The Emergency proclamation was made under Article 150(1) of the Federal Constitution and will last until August 1 but can end earlier or later depending on when the number of active Covid-19 cases can be brought under control again.

All Federal Territories, Penang, Johor, Melaka, Selangor and Sabah are under the movement control order till January 26 deemed MCO 2.0.

Pahang, Perak, Negri Sembilan, Kedah, Terengganu and Kelantan have been placed under the conditional MCO while Perlis and Sarawak are under the recovery MCO for the same period of time.

Under the Emergency declaration, Parliament and state legislative assemblies will not be allowed to meet, until such a time as decided by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

The Dewan Rakyat was scheduled to meet for the first time this year from March 8 to April 8.