Sorry seems to be the hardest word — Hafiz Hassan

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AUGUST 2 — The following are exchanges recorded by Hansard between Minister in the Prime Minister Department (Law and Parliament) Takiyuddin Hassan and Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng shortly after 12.30pm on July 26:

Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri (Parlimen dan Undang-undang) [Datuk Seri Takiyuddin bin Hassan]: Proklamasi Darurat belum dibatalkan, yang dibatalkan Ordinan Darurat. Proklamasi Darurat sampai 1 Ogos.

Tuan Lim Guan Eng [Bagan]: Kalau Ordinan Darurat telah dibatalkan. Semua denda tidak boleh pakai. Hukuman tidak boleh dijalankan oleh pihak berkuasa...

Datuk Seri Takiyuddin bin Hassan: Yalah, tidak boleh pakailah.

Tuan Lim Guan Eng [Bagan]: Oleh sebab masih dijalankan.

Datuk Seri Takiyuddin bin Hassan: Tidak akan disambunglah.

Tuan Lim Guan Eng [Bagan]: But you must inform. You do not inform.

Datuk Seri Takiyuddin bin Hassan: Already revoke. Question of another six months tidak timbul lagi sebagaimana Yang Berhormat Puchong sebut.

Tuan Lim Guan Eng [Bagan]: That’s why I said you have to —  This is a shame. Itu shame kerana masih berdasarkan enam bulan. Itu satu shame. Sungguhpun sudah dilengkapkan, tetapi masih berkuat kuasa mesti diputuskan dalam Dewan yang mulia ini.

Datuk Seri Takiyuddin bin Hassan: Enam bulan tak terpakai kerana telah di revoke ataupun di annul. Tidak timbul lagi...

Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri (Parlimen dan Undang-undang)[Dato’ Takiyuddin bin Hassan]: Semua Ordinan Darurat dengan izin Tuan Yang di-Pertua, tadi saya tidak sebut. Semua Ordinan Darurat, sebanyak enam Ordinan Darurat yang dibuat telah diputuskan untuk di revoke berkuat kuasa 21 Julai 2021. Bukan hari ini  —  21 Julai 2021.

These were the last words of Takiyuddin on July 26.

Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan addresses members of Parliament during a special sitting on July 26, 2021. — Bernama pic
Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan addresses members of Parliament during a special sitting on July 26, 2021. — Bernama pic

The next day on July 27, after a “point of order” was raised by Puchong MP Gobind Gingh Deo soon after the Deputy Speaker Azalina Othman opened the meeting, another round of exchanges took place involving Takiyuddin:

Timbalan Yang di-Pertua [Dato’ Sri Azalina Othman Said]: Terima kasih Yang Berhormat Puchong. Sebenarnya saya pun sebagai Ahli Parlimen, saya pun dalam situasi yang agak sama. Saya percaya ramai peguam di sana, dan kalau kita tengok sosial media, bertanya tentang soalan yang sama. Akan tetapi, memandangkan kita adalah system parliamentary democracy, saya dimaklumkan oleh Tuan Yang di-Pertua bahawa Yang Berhormat Menteri Undang-undang akan memberikan penerangan dan jawapan kepada perkara ini tetapi pada...

Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri (Parlimen dan Undang-undang) [Dato’ Takiyuddin bin Hassan]: On Monday. On Monday, Tuan Yang di-Pertua.

Timbalan Yang di-Pertua [Dato’ Sri Azalina Othman Said]: The Minister is here, biar Minister. Terima kasih. Yang Berhormat Menteri.

Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri (Parlimen dan Undang-undang) [Datuk Seri Takiyuddin bin Hassan]: Okey terima kasih Yang Berhormat. Tuan Yang di-Pertua dan rakan-rakan saya, all my respected learned friends yang telah membangkitkan perkara-perkara ini. Rasa dalam mahkamah pula. Tadi Yang Berhormat Puchong pun sebut Yang Arif, tidak Yang Berhormat.

Timbalan Datuk Seri Takiyuddin bin Hassan: Yang di-Pertua [Dato’ Sri Azalina Othman Said]: Itulah, macam Ketua Hakim Negara pula tiba-tiba.

Jadi Peguam Negara. Tuan Yang di-Pertua, dengan izin dan dengan hormatnya saya ingin menarik perhatian Yang Berhormat dan juga Ahli-ahli Dewan bahawa semalam Tuan Yang di-Pertua sendiri telah membuat satu petua malahan beliau menyebutkan kalau boleh check dengan Hansard, mengarahkan Yang Berhormat Menteri Undang-undang memberi penjelasan pada hari Isnin sedangkan ...

Datuk Seri Takiyuddin bin Hassan: Ya saya minta izin. Jadi dengan itu, I humbly pray, saya meminta dengan rendah diri supaya to be fair to kerajaan, saya diberi peluang untuk memberi penjelasan semua mengenai pelaksanaan darurat pada hari Isnin ini. Itu saya minta. Itu berdasarkan kepada petua.

Tuan M. Kulasegaran [Ipoh Barat]: Jawab sekaranglah.

Datuk Seri Haji Salahuddin bin Ayub [Pulai]: Penjelasan.

Datuk Seri Takiyuddin bin Hassan: Itu saya minta, minta bagi dapat ruling Tuan Yang di-Pertua.

Datuk Seri Takiyuddin bin Hassan: That’s my request. Tuan Yang di-Pertua punya ruling.

Despite a further round of exchanges requesting the minister to clarify his statement on the revocation of the Emergency Ordinances (EOs), Takiyuddin remained adamant.

Datuk Seri Takiyuddin bin Hassan: Saya masih memohon untuk menjawab pada hari Isnin sebagaimana di-ruling Tuan Yang di-Pertua.

Datuk Seri Takiyuddin bin Hassan: Antara yang ada dalam standing order ... adalah petua daripada Tuan Yang di-Pertua. Saya tertakluk kepada petua Tuan Yang di-Pertua ... yang meminta saya memberi penjelasan pada hari Isnin. Itu petua sekarang ini.

When pestered to clarify whether the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong had assented to the revocation:

Datuk Seri Takiyuddin bin Hassan: Saya minta hari Isnin ... Bukan saya lari, hari Isnin, takkan lari. [Dewan riuh] Terima kasih.

These were the last words of Takiyuddin on July 27. In his absence the Speaker explained his “Monday ruling”:

Saya hendak melancarkan prosiding ini supaya kita cukup masa untuk membahaskan sesuatu perkara itu. Jadi, hari Isnin ini saya pun telah beritahu semalam di Dewan ini dan juga selepas itu saya juga sudah beritahu Yang Berhormat Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri (Parlimen dan Undang-undang), beliau perlu menjawab kesemua persoalan yang dibangkitkan oleh pihak pembangkang, oleh Ahli-ahli Yang Berhormat semua mengenai apa yang diperkatakan oleh beliau semalam ... So, beliau perlulah memberi penerangan tersebut dan prosedur-prosedurnya sama ada perkenan Baginda Yang diPertuan Agong atau pun belum atau sebagainya lah. So, mari kita tunggu hari Isnin ini. [Dewan riuh] 

On July 28, another early day “point of order” was raised by Gobind even before the Deputy Speaker Mohd Rashid Hasnon opened the meeting. The point of order was a motion to refer Takiyuddin to the House Committee of Privileges for his “bombshell statement” on July that the Emergency Ordinances (EOs) “telah di revoke ataupun di annul” (see above).

Not a word from Takiyuddin on July 28.

He had three days to clarify things. He remained adamant that he should stick to the Monday ruling of the Speaker. He requested that the Speaker’s ruling be respected.

On July 29, when Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Abdul Karim raised a point of order on the Proclamation of Emergency and the EOs, the Speaker insisted on his Monday ruling despite Hassan’s counter insistence that it would be too late as the Proclamation would have expired and therefore academic.

It was still early in the day (10.20 am), and no one had an inkling what was to come. Shortly after 12.10 pm, the Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim stood on a point of order to disclose to the House a statement from the Palace.

It was a bombshell for a bombshell  —  if you like.

The statement from the Comptroller of the Royal Household Datuk Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin said that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah was “deeply saddened” by Takiyuddin’s assertion in the House that the Emergency Ordinances have been revoked.

The Agong also said the minister’s remarks had confused the House, and that the announcement was “not accurate”. Takiyuddin’s announcement in the House was consequently premature and inaccurate.

The Palace statement resulted in an uproar in the House.

However, a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), which was only released later in the evening, maintained that the prime minister and Takiyuddin had observed and followed all the due processes under the Federal Constitution when announcing the revocation of the EOs on July 26.

The statement said that the prime minister had written a letter to the Agong on July 23 advising His Majesty to revoke the EOs and seeking His Majesty’s assent to the revocation  —  “memohon limpah perkenan Seri Paduka Baginda Tuanku mengenainya”.

It was a concession that the revocation of the EOs required the royal assent, which the Palace confirmed had not been, or at least yet to be, given.

If only Takiyuddin had clarified that in the House, and the Speaker had directed the minister to do so, following the points of order raised by the MPs, which were valid.

But the Speaker too was adamant that the minister addressed the House on Monday.

“I have said that ... he (Takiyuddin) needs to answer all questions raised by all Honourable Members on what he said [on July 26]. He needs to give clarifications as well as on the procedure whether it received the consent of the Agong or not ...let us wait until Monday,” the Speaker said.

If only Takiyuddin had said it was a slip of tongue that he had said that the EOs had been revoked or annulled. Anwar had in fact said to that effect early in the day on July 26:

Dato’ Seri Anwar bin Ibrahim [Port Dickson]: Jadi kita hendak tahu, kalau belum [perkenan], beritahu sahajalah bahawa saya tersilap. Maksud saya Kabinet memutuskan, baru hendak dipersembahkan kepada Tuanku Agong dan beri ruang dan waktu kepada Tuanku Agong menimbang dan memperkenankan.

If only the minister had said sorry for the slip of the tongue.

But sorry seems to be the hardest word. And inadvertently, the minister had dragged the Attorney General (AG) into a polemic of his own making. The latter is a legal adviser to the government. His advice stops with the government who must take responsibility for the statement that the six EOs “telah di revoke ataupun di annul”.

Even the six EOs were not named.

When sorry seems to be the hardest word, it’s sad, so sad. (Elton John, Sorry seems to be the hardest word — song released in 1976 in the album Blue Moves)

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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