It’s good that Deputy Speaker Azalina wears the trousers in parliament and dares to challenge the Law Minister. Shouldn’t Speaker Art Harun support her?
Read the full article in Malaysiakini at this link.
De facto law minister, Takiyuddin Hassan (PAS) wants to keep Parliament shut during the emergency.
Umno-Baru’s Pengerang MP Azalina Othman Said, who is also the Deputy Speaker, has challenged Takiyuddin.
Overview: The Agong said that Parliament can convene during the emergency if the prime minister advised him to do so, but PN is adamant that the legislature should not convene. The emergency was declared on 11 January, purportedly to combat the Coronavirus pandemic.
Critics claim that PN is using the emergency to cling to power amid uncertainties over its parliamentary majority and to gain dictatorial powers. The government has also invoked emergency powers to, among others, spend without parliamentary oversight.
Takiyuddin’s response. He claimed that in the absence of Parliament, any views can be channelled to the government through the independent special committee on the emergency.
Azalina had to point out to the Law Minister, that the committee and Parliament are two different things.
First, Azalina said, “Parliament is the highest law-making entity for the government to approve and amend federal laws, scrutinise and question government policies through Question Time and the special chamber’s session, as well as approving the government budget and proposed taxes.
Azalina clarified that the special committee is only responsible for advising the Agong on whether the emergency should continue or not.
Second, Azalina said that MPs and the public do not have access to the special committee’s proceedings.
Third, Azalina dismissed Takiyuddin’s remark that people should not be suspicious of the government that may abuse its powers in Parliament’s absence.
Fourth, Azalina disagreed with Takiyuddin when he claimed that there were checks and balances against the government through the likes of the MACC, National Audit Department, and Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
PAC chairperson Wong Kah Woh has also wondered if Takiyuddin is either clueless or trying to hoodwink the rakyat (We say both!)
Fifth, Azalina said that the suspension of parliament has upset the power balance in Malaysia and warned Takiyuddin not to ignore the concept of separation of powers and parliamentary democracy.
Sixth, Azalina said that the Constitution is not a document for the government to restrain the people. – Rebuilding Malaysia