Has PM Muhyiddin exceeded authority in suspending Parliament? Guan Eng says no mention in Agong’s Emergency decree

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng leaves PKR’s headquarters after meeting with Pakatan Harapan presidential council in Petaling Jaya October 29, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng leaves PKR’s headquarters after meeting with Pakatan Harapan presidential council in Petaling Jaya October 29, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 — Opposition lawmaker Lim Guan Eng today suggested that Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had extended his authority as prime minister in suspending Parliament.

The Bagan MP said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong made no mention of Parliament’s suspension in his proclamation of the Emergency two days ago.

The DAP secretary-general questioned Muhyiddin’s intention in doing so, and suggested it was likely for political self-preservation than public welfare.

“Even the royal decree mentioning that the Emergency can end sooner than 1 August, is not mentioned in the Emergency Proclamation signed by Muhyiddin. Has Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin exceeded his authority?

“By suspending and silencing Parliament, Muhyiddin no longer fears that he has already lost his Parliamentary majority, with only 109 out of 220 MPs supporting his administration.

“Worse the Emergency allows him to pass any laws as he likes without going through Parliament, or even arrest anyone he does not like,” Lim said in a statement.

He said suspending Parliament jeopardised transparency and accountability as government procurement contracts could pass unchecked.

“Even huge government procurement contracts can be signed through negotiated tenders without practicing open tenders.

“Direct or negotiated tenders have been cited as the main cause of corrupt practices and abuse of power by Transparency International.

“A suspended and silenced Parliament can no longer demand accountability regarding the award of contracts without open tenders from this unelected government,” he said.

Lim claimed to have received many complaints from businesses that they were facing a tough time getting approvals during the latest movement control order because they were not considered “essential services”.

“What is the logic of disallowing businesses not classified as an essential service and are free of Covid-19 from operating, as compared to essential service industries recording a high number of Covid-19 cases?

“Whilst we are committed to saving lives, this should not come at the cost of killing off livelihoods of businesses that observe standard health protocols and have very few Covid-19 cases,” he said.

On Tuesday, the King declared a state of Emergency to try to rein in coronavirus infections.

Parliament was subsequently suspended. Detractors said the move prevents challenges to Muhyiddin’s leadership of the country.

The Emergency also gives Muhyiddin and his Cabinet extraordinary powers, such as introducing laws without the approval of Parliament.

Any election will also not be held until the Emergency is declared over.

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