Citing health concerns, Speaker says no debate in Dewan Rakyat on May 18 sitting

Speaker Datuk Mohammad Ariff Md Yusof speaks at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur July 26, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Speaker Datuk Mohammad Ariff Md Yusof speaks at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur July 26, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, May 13 — The Dewan Rakyat proceeding on May 18 will end immediately after the Agong delivers the Royal Address with no debate scheduled for the remainder of the day, Speaker Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Mohd Md Yusof announced today.

The decision was reached by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on health concerns, Ariff said in a statement issued this afternoon, citing the ongoing government effort to contain Covid-19.

“Let it be known that I have received a notice signed by the prime minister who as head of Council had notified me that the government had decided that the Order of the First Proceeding of the Third Term, the 14th Parliament, will be amended,” the statement read.

The government has the power to amend the schedule under Parliamentary Standing Order 11(2) and 15(2), Ariff said.

The Opposition has been pressuring Muhyiddin to extend Monday’s sitting for at least two days, citing concerns over the lack of time to scrutinise the Perikatan Nasional (PN) administration’s response to the Covid-19 crisis.

Muhyiddin’s government had unveiled several “stimulus” packages worth RM260 billion in March and early April in a bid to cushion the pandemic’s impact on the economy, but without Parliament approval.

Speculation is rife that Pakatan Harapan (PH) could use the opportunity to slide a motion of no-confidence against the sitting prime minister.

Talk about the move to depose Muhyiddin has been building since the political crisis sparked by Bersatu’s defection from PH just before the coronavirus outbreak turned into a national emergency.

Two days ago, Mohamad Ariff confirmed that former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had submitted a no-confidence motion to be tabled in Dewan Rakyat, but did not specify a date for the vote to be called.

Muhyiddin pledged on March 28 that all spending on the crisis will go through the Dewan Rakyat amid criticism over his government’s handling of the crisis.

At the same time, his party colleague Dr Mahathir, who has labelled Muhyiddin a minority prime minister, is mounting a serious challenge for political control.  

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