Speaker: It will be all systems go for Parliament sitting once govt gives nod

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur July 13, 2020. — Bernama pic
Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur July 13, 2020. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 — Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun has said that he is ever-ready for Parliament to reconvene, even amid the Emergency and Covid-19 pandemic, as all the standard operating procedures (SOPs) are in place.

According to Malay daily Utusan Malaysia, Azhar said it is up to the government to decide whether Parliament can sit, citing Article 40 of the Federal Constitution.

“The one who convenes a sitting of Parliament is the Agong but after upon the advice of the prime minister. If His Majesty consents after following the government's advice, a declaration will be issued to call Parliament to sit.

“If it were up to us, we are ready any time for the parliamentary session in every respect, especially involving compliance with Covid-19 SOPs,” he was quoted as saying.

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.”

Earlier this month, Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said had reiterated her call for the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government to consider reconvening Parliament given the state of the country now.

In a statement, Azalina, who was also a former de facto law minister, said there is no other way for the country to move forward with a state of Emergency except for the Parliament session to resume.

At the same time, the Emergency Ordinance stated that Parliament shall be summoned, prorogued and dissolved on a date deemed appropriate by Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced a state of Emergency to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia. It is slated to last until August 1, or until Covid-19 is brought under control.

Under the Emergency declaration, Parliament and state legislative assemblies will not be allowed to meet, until such a time as decided by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

The Dewan Rakyat was scheduled to meet for the first time this year from March 8 to April 8.

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