Ramkarpal: Convene Parliament next week

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Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin should act now and enable Parliament to sit as early as next week, says DAP’s Ramkarpal Singh.

The Bukit Gelugor MP said this would give effect to the views reiterated earlier today by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, that it is imperative for Parliament to sit as soon as possible.

Ramkarpal said the 28-day notice for a Parliament sitting could be waived under Order 9 (2)(a) of the Standing Orders of the Dewan Rakyat.

“This was done when an emergency sitting of Parliament was held following the MH17 tragedy in 2014,” he pointed out in a statement today.

Ramkarpal, who chairs DAP’s national legal bureau, noted that this was not the first time the King had indicated that Parliament ought to sit as soon as possible, stating that it was “certainly sound advice” as the government’s “poor management” of the Covid-19 pandemic should be urgently debated.

“The prime minister should seriously consider the views of the King and advise His Majesty to reconvene Parliament immediately,” said Ramkarpal, who felt a sitting could even be held in early July.

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“The revelation today that the King has reiterated his stand that Parliament needs to reconvene as soon as possible is yet another indication of Putrajaya’s unwillingness to reconvene Parliament despite there being no impediment in doing so.”

Last Friday, Attorney-General Idrus Harun said the King must act on the advice of the Cabinet on when Parliament can reopen. He expressed this view after the King stated on June 16 that Parliament should reconvene “as soon as possible”.

Citing Article 40(1) and (1A) of the Federal Constitution, Idrus said the King must act on the advice of the Cabinet “unless otherwise stated”.

Idrus added that while Article 55(1) of the Federal Constitution empowered the King to call for Parliament to reconvene, the emergency ordinance overruled this provision during the period the Emergency was in force.

Earlier today, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun and his deputies Azalina Othman Said and Mohd Rashid Hasnon, as well as Senate president Rais Yatim and his deputy Mohamad Ali Mohamad, were summoned to Istana Negara for an audience with the King.

Azhar and Rais said last week that a committee had been set up to study the possibility of a hybrid sitting of Parliament with the hope that it would convene by the end of August or early September, adding that a special sitting would be held in early August to discuss the technicalities of a hybrid Parliament.

“This (special sitting in early August) clearly indicates that Parliament can sit physically, and since all MPs have been vaccinated, there ought to be nothing to prevent an emergency sitting for at least a week to debate matters relating to the management of Covid-19 and the emergency ordinances,” said Ramkarpal.

Law minister Takiyuddin Hassan had also said the government would target the August-September timeline proposed by Azhar and Rais, adding that the notice to reconvene Parliament would be made after the Emergency expires on Aug 1, and it must be made 28 days before the sitting convenes. – FMT