The Dewan Rakyat saw a chorus of revolt from MPs, with some accusing the government of treason (derhaka), after a royal rebuke against the Perikatan Nasional government.
MPs were directing various questions about the government’s policies during the Covid-19 pandemic when many started to bury their heads in their mobile devices.
Spreading across social media was a strongly-worded statement issued by the Istana Negara which said de facto Law Minister Takiyuddin Hassan had misled Parliament and bypassed the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in the revocation of the emergency ordinances.
The palace also expressed the ruler’s deep disappointment because the government had defied his decree to allow Parliament to debate the emergency ordinances, which is the due process for the revocation.
Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim (PH-Port Dickson) then formally informed the Dewan Rakyat of the royal statement, courting a chorus of applause from the opposition bench.
Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Rashid Hasnon, who presided over the sitting, appeared unaware of the statement when Anwar began reading out the whole statement.
As he read out the statement, several MPs shouted “derhaka! derhaka!”
The shouts were primarily aimed at Takiyuddin. Neither Muhyiddin or Takiyuddin were in the chamber when the matter was raised by Anwar.
Several MPs also demanded that Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun return to the House and take over from Rashid.
Azhar, a lawyer by training, had made a lengthy defence of the government’s decision not to debate the emergency ordinances this morning.
He cited the Federal Constitution extensively to justify the government’s decision.
The royal statement rebuking the government hours later puts him in the crossfire.
The government bench remained silent throughout the drama. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin was not around at the time.
However, some MPs took aim at Deputy Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob
“Bera (Ismail Sabri’s constituency), say something!” an MP is heard shouting.
Ismail Sabri is a key leader who has worked to block Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (BN-Bagan Datuk), who is also the Umno president, from trying to take Umno out of the PN government.
Zahid was absent as he is recovering from Covid-19.
Rashid tried to play down the statement from the palace but received a stern admonition from Anwar.
Rashid then attempted to continue the sitting. However, Mohd Noh Omar (BN-Tanjong Karang) interjected, telling him to postpone the sitting to 2.30pm.
On Monday, Takiyuddin claimed the government had revoked the emergency ordinances, bypassing Parliament and also the king.
The Federal Constitution requires the revocation to go through Parliament.
The move was widely seen as an attempt to avoid a vote amid the government’s uncertain majority.
Following Monday’s announcement, the government’s response in the subsequent days had been a confused one as it could not give a straight answer if the emergency ordinances have really been revoked.
Muhyiddin is estimated to have a four-seat majority in the Dewan Rakyat.
However, this has become uncertain with Zahid announcing on July 8 that Umno was pulling out its support.
Umno has 38 MPs, a majority of whom do not agree with Zahid.
However, with Muhyiddin’s slim majority, Zahid only needs a handful of MPs to oust Muhyiddin.
Later on, the House temporarily adjourned for 15 minutes, before Rashid returned and announced that the House would adjourn until 2.30pm. It was further adjourned to 3.30pm, and then 5.15pm when it was eventually announced that the House would resume on Monday.