Parliament can dispense with the 28-day notice rule and convene for an emergency session, said former prime minister Najib Razak.
According to Najib, parliamentary standing orders allow for a meeting to be called quickly and in circumstances deemed urgent by the speaker.
“Those who had administered the country should know that the parliamentary process for a notice to be given 28 days before a meeting can be set aside under Standing Order 9(2)(a),” he said in Facebook post.
The Pekan MP attached the corresponding page of the standing order in his post, which confirms that the speaker, in certain circumstances, can do away with the 28-day ruling and call for a session.
Najib asked if those in power had heard of the term “emergency Parliament session”.
“With or without the full power of Emergency, if a government is not capable of overcoming its own legal hurdles to act upon the advice of the king to convene Parliament to discuss issues pertinent to the people, what more can we expect of it to solve the people’s problems and to govern the country?” he said in the post.
Najib’s comments come after fellow party member Annuar Musa’s tweet, in which Annuar said politicians who previously ran the country should be familiar with the parliamentary process and the requirements to convene Parliament.
These senior members of Umno have joined party calls for the government to summon the Dewan Rakyat to sit within 14 days of Sunday.
Annuar, the Federal Territories minister and a former Umno secretary-general, suggested that threatening the government might not be the best way to move forward.
Although Annuar did not name names in his tweet, it was clear he was talking about Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
“As a party that used to administer the country, it should know how Parliament is summoned. It should be calm when offering its opinions. Threats are out of place and are bound to bite back and expose hidden agendas,” Annuar said on Twitter today.
Yesterday, Zahid said the Perikatan Nasional government must convene Parliament in 14 days and failure to do so is an insult to the monarchy.
He said the government must respect the orders of the king and the Conference of Rulers to call for Parliament as soon as possible.
“As such, the government shouldn’t attempt to delay holding a Parliament session by re-interpreting their words.
“In the end, the king and the Conference of Rulers have agreed on the same issue,” Zahid said in a statement this morning, following Umno’s political bureau meeting on Sunday.
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, after meeting political leaders and the rulers last week, decreed that Parliament must convene as soon as possible.
Zahid’s statement was panned by former minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz who said by convention MPs must receive 28 days’ notice to convene.
“This demand does not follow parliamentary procedure,” he was quoted by news portal Agenda Daily.
Last week, Muhyiddin announced a Covid-19 pandemic exit plan that suggested Parliament could convene in September.
On Sunday, the prime minister said a committee comprising government and opposition representatives had been formed to look into this.
Muhyiddin said it was not his intention to delay Parliament but there were issues that needed to be resolved.
Muhyiddin said the committee would refer to the Standing Orders for guidance on whether the meeting should be physical, virtual or a hybrid of both.
“I will need to closely look into this. I understand (the matter) very well and I was advised not only by the minister of law but by the attorney-general that my actions and those of the government must be in line with what is stipulated in the constitution,” he said.
He said there was also a need to consider whether Parliament was ready for a physical sitting, including with regard to sitting arrangements that must comply with the standard operating procedure. – TMI