Sg Buloh MP Sivarasa Rasiah today questioned if Muhyiddin Yassin was the rightful prime minister when he advised the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to declare a state of emergency.
He said from a political perspective, Muhyiddin and his Perikatan Nasional (PN) government did not command majority support in Parliament.
“We know that some Umno members pulled out their support for the PM (Muhyiddin).
“So, it looks like the MPs supporting the PM are less than the majority. So, the advice to Agong (on emergency) is questionable,” Sivarasa said during a discussion on “people’s rights and emergency from a constitutional view”.
“However, this has not reached the gates of the Agong’s palace, it is not official…from a law standpoint, the Agong would need a burden of proof that is higher” to decline Muhyiddin’s advice on the Emergency, Sivarasa said, citing Article 40 of the Federal Constitution.
He said to this end, the Umno president and all Umno MPs could meet with the Agong at his palace to declare they have withdrawn support for the PN government.
He also said that the Opposition MPs could similarly show proof they majority support in Parliament, or the Agong could himself seek letters of declaration or face-to-face meetings with MPs.
Sivarasa said if it was shown that Muhyiddin had lost majority support, the Agong would then need to give the time to MPs to choose a new prime minister, or allow Muhyiddin to show he has managed to recapture the support he needs to maintain his position.
“But for now, this hasn’t happened, and my opinion as a lawyer is that the Agong cannot refuse the advice of the prime minister when he wants to call for an Emergency,” said Sivarasa.
When asked what is the best current political method to end the Emergency, Sivarasa said it would be a challenge to do it without Parliament being reconvened.
Pejuang lawyer Muhammad Rafique Rashid Ali, in the same discussion, questioned the rationale of imposing emergency.
“Why do we need the emergency? During the first lockdown (MCO 1.0) we didn’t need it and then 10 months later we have an emergency.
“Was it to fight the pandemic or was it a political move? The rakyat and opposition are questioning this,” Rafique said.
Shah Alam MP Khalid Abdul Samad from Parti Amanah Negara, who was also in the same online news conference, suggested that Umno MPs do this to take responsibility for the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government.
“This I want to direct to Najib, Zahid and the like,” said Khalid, referring to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
“As stated earlier [by Sivarasa], one of the options that can be done is that Umno MPs declare officially, such as by statutory decorations, that we do not support the PN government. And naturally the current government will fall.
“But because Umno also wants to take care of its priorities. So, don’t try to wash your hands,” he said.
Earlier this week, Zahid had said it was unfair to blame Umno or link it to the failures of the PN government, as Umno was not involved in determining national policies.
Parliament has not been convened since December last year, after Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah declared a nationwide state of Emergency — on the advice of Muhyiddin — in January, which resulted in the suspension of Parliament until the Emergency ends on August 1.