Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan has been urged to clear the air on the actual functions of the Special Independent Emergency Committee 2021.
This follows his statement yesterday that the decision on whether the nation will remain under a State of Emergency after Aug 1 or otherwise does not lie solely in the hands of Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.
Kulim-Bandar Baharu Member of Parliament, Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the statement by Takiyuddin created confusion since the responsibilities of the committee that was formed under Section 2 of the Emergency Ordinance (Essential Powers) 2021, is specific and clear, that is to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong regarding the existence or termination of the State of Emergency declaration.
Saifuddin, who is also PKR secretary-general, said until today the committee is still in existence and its end goal is to present the final report to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
“Has the function of the committee, that is to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the date to lift or extend the State of Emergency declaration been taken over by the Cabinet?
“Does this mean that the powers of the Cabinet to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong according to the Federal Constitution are still applicable throughout the State of Emergency declaration period including on matters whether the emergency should be extended or otherwise?
“If so, what is the need to form the committee?
Yesterday, Takiyuddin said the cabinet would advise the king on whether the emergency, due to end on August 1, should be extended.
“Whether or not the emergency will end on the said date (August 1) should not have arisen.
“The cabinet will continue with its responsibility to advise the king regarding the emergency and it will be done after taking into account all factors, including public safety, social aspects and the national economy,” he had said.
Takiyuddin was responding to health director-general of health Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah who had said only the king could decide whether to extend the emergency.
In January, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong declared a state of emergency until August 1 to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
The emergency declaration means the suspension of parliament and ends the possibility of a snap election.
Takyuddin’s reference to the cabinet as adviser to the Agong earlier also drew rebuke from Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, who told him to “stop shifting the goalposts!” in a tweet.
Takiyuddin responded by saying that Putrajaya is not shifting the goalposts but “correcting the rules of the game to help the referee make the right call”.
DAP’s Lim Kit Siang today also lent his support to Azalina in calling out the federal government for attempting to shift the goalposts on when the Emergency would end.
Lim said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin should not go back on his word to have the Special Independent Committee on Emergency advice the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on whether the emergency should be extended beyond August 1.
“This is a solemn commitment by the prime minister that the question on whether the Emergency Proclamation would be extended would not be exercised under Article 40(1) of the Federal Constitution but by the advice of the committee.
“The prime minister has given his word that this constitutional function will now be exercised by the committee and the prime minister will be accused of being untrustworthy and not keeping his word if he now dishonours his commitment,” Lim said in a statement this morning.
Article 40(1) states: “In the exercise of his functions under this Constitution or federal law the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall act in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet or of a Minister acting under the general authority of the Cabinet, except as otherwise provided by this Constitution; but shall be entitled, at his request, to any information concerning the government of the Federation which is available to the Cabinet.”
Selangor Umno liaison committee chairman Tan Sri Noh Omar, meanwhile, described the statement by Takiyuddin as an insult to the members of the committee.
“If the decision to extend or lift the State of Emergency by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is made upon the advice of the Cabinet, why appoint all of as members in the committee and later deny our function?
“Did the minister refer to the statement by Prime Minister (Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin) on the functions of the committee?
“Why are ministers in PN (Perikatan Nasional) always prone to making statements that are contradictory and ‘flip-flop’ that can mislead the people?” questioned Noh.