Royal pressure makes it hard for govt to delay Parliament

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Considered a mark of disrespect towards the Agong and Malay rulers if the call is disobeyed.

Analysts see yesterday’s royal call for the reconvening of Parliament as difficult for the government to ignore, coming as it did not only from the King but his brother rulers as well.

They say it would be considered as a mark of disrespect towards the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Malay rulers if the call is disobeyed.

They note that it was the second time since the current state of emergency was declared that the King had voiced his view on the importance of having Parliament in session even during an emergency. The first time the King expressed a similar view was in February.

Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya said the Perikatan Nasional administration had no choice but to heed the call this time around.

“PN cannot ignore it like it did the last time. It must bow to His Majesty’s decree, which is supported by other rulers,” he said.

He told FMT it was clear to him that the King and the Malay rulers were genuinely concerned about the state of democracy in the country.

He noted that the King had avoided interfering in political issues, but had called for a functioning parliamentary system so that the fate of the current government could be determined.

Awang Azman said the joint statement could be seen as a signal that the rulers believed PN was unsuccessful in managing the pandemic. It also reflected current public opinion that the emergency should end, the vaccination process should be sped up and the economy should be better managed.

“There is no doubt that the rakyat will be monitoring and evaluating the situation, especially as to how much the PN government will abide by the decree of the rulers,” he said.

He also said the government should take the rulers’ remarks seriously in making necessary improvements and must show courage in acknowledging its weaknesses.

Azmi Hassan, formerly of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), said “the directive” from the King meant that PN had to reopen Parliament before the end of the emergency on Aug 1.

“If the government is still adamant about not reopening Parliament because of the virus, it will be an unprecedented action that disrespects the decision of the King,” he told FMT.

He said the King’s statement reflected public dissatisfaction with the government, and he claimed that the dissatisfaction had grown since the announcement of Putrajaya’s exit strategy from the Covid-19 pandemic.

A statement from Istana Negara yesterday said the King saw Parliament as playing an important role in handling issues related to Covid-19, and the King it to convene as soon as possible.

The Malay rulers said there was no need for the nation to remain under a state of emergency after Aug 1, according to the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal, Syed Danial Syed Ahmad.

He said the Malay rulers also called for state assemblies to reconvene soon.

Oh Ei Sun of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs said it was significant that the Malay rulers had issued a joint statement against the extension of the emergency.

He told FMT their call had “great persuasive power” over the government although they could not, in theory, disallow the emergency.

“If the government goes ahead and extends the emergency, it will be a mark of disrespect against the Malay rulers, and Muhyiddin Yassin would not want to go into that territory,” he said.


Oh also said it was “harmless” for PN to reopen Parliament and that there was nothing for it to fear as motions of no-confidence could still be deflected. – FMT