Report: Government asks Opposition to name three MPs for bipartisan Emergency panel

Malaysiakini reported Pakatan Harapan chief secretary Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (pic) confirming receipt of the letter from de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan to Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Malaysiakini reported Pakatan Harapan chief secretary Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (pic) confirming receipt of the letter from de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan to Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 ― The Muhyiddin administration has formally requested three names from the Opposition to join a bipartisan committee that is supposed to decide when the Emergency should end, Malaysiakini reported.

The news portal reported Pakatan Harapan (PH) chief secretary Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail confirming receipt of the letter from de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan to Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

“Yes, I have received a call from Takiyuddin on the matter. I also received the letter on behalf of the Opposition leader,” Saifuddin Nasution was quoted as saying.

However, he said the Opposition has reservations on how the committee would work, adding that details were unknown.

Saifuddin said he asked Takiyuddin about the committee's terms of reference and final composition.

“This is because the numbers of government and opposition MPs may be equal, or taking into consideration the latest developments, the Opposition may have more MPs,” he said, alluding to the withdrawal of support for Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin by at least two Umno MPs.

Machang MP Datuk Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub and Padang Rengas MP Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz recently declared they no longer supported Muhyiddin as prime minister, tilting the balance in the Dewan Rakyat.

PKR vice-president Chang Lih Kang also questioned the Muhyiddin administration’s intention in setting up the committee, pointing out that the executive branch of government is functioning as usual.

“Since the administration and Cabinet will operate as usual, then what will be the function of this committee?

“If the committee is just to play an advisory role, I think there is no need to do so,” the Tanjung Malim MP told Malaysiakini.

Chang stated that the Opposition needs to know the exact purpose of the committee before any decision can be made on the matter.

He questioned if including the Opposition on the panel was for a “cosmetic purpose”.

DAP organising secretary Anthony Loke expressed a similar view, saying the government needs to explain the bipartisan committee’s power and scope.

“Without details, we cannot commit ourselves,” the Seremban MP was quoted as saying.

Amanah vice-president Hasanuddin Yunus said his party is open to suggestions that would benefit the nation, but added that it is against invoking the Emergency.

Warisan deputy president Darell Leiking said the government should have called for a special parliamentary sitting to discuss the Emergency proclamation if it were serious about bipartisanship.

He said Warisan was reserving its response about joining the committee until Parliament reconvenes.

He said Muhyiddin need not worry about the Opposition, pointing out that the PM’s chief concern came from its supposed ally, Umno.

Pejuang pro-tem deputy president Datuk Marzuki Yahya was non-committal, saying it will covey its views when formally invited by the government for a discussion.

“We have not been informed yet, so I don’t think we want to discuss that.

“We don’t even support the Emergency, so what's the reason we want to be in there?” he was quoted as saying.

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