Pakatan Harapan has indicated that its MPs may still head to Parliament on Monday despite the sitting being postponed to a different day.
In a statement released just before news broke that Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had postponed Monday’s sitting – the Harapan presidential council said nothing could stop MPs from fulfilling their duties.
“No matter what happens, MPs can’t be stopped from attending Parliament on Monday to fulfil their duties and responsibilities to the people and country, and fulfil our oaths to defend the Federal Constitution,” the statement read.
It was signed by PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.
The statement, which predicted that Muhyiddin would use Covid-19 as an excuse to shut down Parliament, also rejected such a move.
They said the 11 cases of Covid-19 detected on Thursday only amounted to a 0.9 percent test positivity rate – far below the World Health Organisation’s five percent threshold.
“This means there was no significant amount of Covid-19 cases at Parliament last week.
“If Parliament is closed because of a (test positivity) rate of below one percent, then its possible Parliament may not convene again as the fact is Covid-19 has become endemic not just in Malaysia, but the whole world,” they said.
The Harapan presidential council said Covid-19 hence should not be used as an excuse to postpone Parliament sittings.
They also warned Muhyiddin against using government ministries and agencies, including Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, to justify closing Parliament.
A letter informing MPs of Parliament being postponed said the move was in line with advice from Noor Hisham and that the Health Ministry had found Parliament to be a Covid-19 risk locality.
The postponement comes amid what critics claim to be a constitutional crisis between the federal government and the monarchy.
Anwar wants to move a motion of no-confidence against Muhyiddin while there are also motions to censure Takiyuddin.
Meanwhile, the head of Parliament’s select committee on health has called Muhyiddin a coward for halting Monday’s Parliament meeting due to Covid-19 fears.
Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said Muhyiddin was acting based on political needs rather than science.
“This adjournment is absurd when only 11 people (0.9%) have tested positive out of 1,138 samples taken,” the medical doctor told The Malaysian Insight today after a notice on the postponement was sent to all MPs.
“Fact of matter is the World Health Organization recommends a 5% positivity rate to gauge that the pandemic is under control and when we compare that to the 0.9% in Parliament itself, there is no excuse to say that there is an outbreak.
“More than that, many essential sectors also experience daily cases, but as long as proper standard operating procedures are adhered to, their daily business are not drastically disrupted.
“That is why this is absolute nonsense.”
He said this is also contrary to the government’s national recovery plan, which is aimed at reopening the country.
“We should be encouraging more testing at the ‘workplace’ and if the positive rate is not high, as long as the required SOP are adhered to, we all should continue to function and carry out our duties as normally as we can while living with Covid-19,” he said.
“This shows the prime minister and his government are cowards, to hide behind the director-general of health and dare not face the people due to their incompetence.”
Yii said Parliament’s abrupt adjournment has left the legality of the emergency ordinances hanging.
Although the government claimed that it has cancelled them, the revocation has not been gazetted, he said.
“Meanwhile, we are told that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has also ordered the government to table them in Parliament. So, what happens now?” asked Yii.
“Are these emergency ordinances still valid? Will the government table them as instructed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong? Or is the whole country left hanging because the government is afraid of losing power?”
Lawyers have said previously that the ordinances will automatically expire in six months from the date the emergency ends, which is August 1.