Saturday, February 13, 2021

Umno MP calls out party sec-gen over ignorance on constitution

Annuar Musa responds to Ahmad Maslan's letter urging MPs to press for a parliamentary sitting during the emergency.

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Umno’s Ketereh MP Annuar Musa has hit out at his party’s secretary-general for invoking the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s emergency powers to call for a parliamentary sitting, saying it not only shows an ignorance of the constitution, but is also an attempt to back efforts by opposition leaders to challenge the emergency declaration.

This follows Ahmad Maslan’s circular to Umno MPs telling them to state their support in urging the king to call for a sitting, citing Article 150(3) of the constitution.

But Annuar said Ahmad had misunderstood the provision, adding that such a parliamentary proceeding was only to confirm ordinances enacted outside the Parliament throughout the emergency.

“You should have been aware that following the proclamation of emergency under Article 150(1) of the constitution, Parliament no longer convenes. Parliament will only convene upon the expiry of the emergency (Aug 1) as stated in Section 14 of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021,” Annuar said in a letter replying to Ahmad.

Annuar, who is the federal territories minister, said the proceedings and operations of the state of emergency are clearly spelt out in the constitution.

“Umno/BN MPs and other MPs cannot petition the King to undo what is constitutionally done. There is no legal provision for us to do so. There is no legal leg for us to stand on. Our actions are doomed to fail,” he added.

He said Ahmad’s call for an urgent parliamentary sitting also goes against the party’s stance accepting the decision of the Agong in consenting to a state of emergency last week.

“Your letter is a breach of organisational ethics, an insult to the party’s decision and can be interpreted as treason of the Agong,” he said.

The state of emergency was announced on Jan 12 after weeks of spikes in daily Covid-19 cases, ahead of the return of the movement control order in large parts of the country.

PKR president Anwar Ibrahim however launched a petition campaign urging MPs to write to the palace to rescind the state of emergency, adding that he has prepared a legal team to challenge the proclamation in court.

Annuar, who earlier fell out with party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi over the latter’s persistent call for Umno to quit the Perikatan Nasional ruling bloc, urged Ahmad to revoke his letter, saying it is against the constitution as well as the party’s stance.

“It’s better that the secretary-general refers to constitutional experts to display more intelligence on legal matters,” Annuar said.

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