Monday, February 22, 2021

PH says legal action against emergency directed at PM’s advice

Opposition coalition says Muhyiddin Yassin and his Cabinet acted illegally and violated the constitution in advising the Agong to suspend parliament and state assembly sessions.

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Pakatan Harapan (PH) today maintained that the legal action taken against the state of emergency declared earlier this month to curb the spread of Covid-19 was directed at the prime minister’s advice to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and not the ruler himself.

In a statement signed by PKR’s Saifuddin Nasution, Amanah’s Hatta Ramli and DAP’s Loke Siew Fook, PH said it had applied on Jan 27 to restore the judicial process at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

It said the application by Simpang Jeram MP Salahuddin Ayub, Gurun assemblyman Johari Abdul and Tebing Tinggi assemblyman Abdul Aziz Bari was filed in order to initiate a review of the methods employed under the emergency ordinance which had consented to the suspension of activities in parliament and state assemblies.

“This legal action was not to challenge the emergency proclamation on Jan 11,” it said.

“The application was made to prove that the methods under the emergency ordinance were invalid under law and contrary to the Federal Constitution.”

PH said Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and his Cabinet had acted illegally and violated the Federal Constitution in advising the Agong to suspend parliament and state assembly sessions.

“The federal government, state governments and representatives across the country need these sittings at this critical time to bring together the voices of the people they represent, and to discuss and pass laws and measures needed to address the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as other matters that concern government administration and the lives of the people.”

Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah had consented to a proclamation of emergency in a move to help efforts to combat the sharp spike in Covid-19 cases nationwide.

The move was also seen as a way of ensuring political stability throughout the pandemic season, in the face of threats by several Umno MPs to revoke their support for the ruling bloc.

The move drew criticism from several opposition leaders, with PKR chief Anwar Ibrahim announcing a letter-writing campaign to get MPs to request the Agong to revoke the proclamation.

He also prepared a draft of the letter to be sent to the palace and told MPs that Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s move to declare an emergency was not valid, although he later said he was not questioning the Agong’s powers.

Earlier this week, he filed a suit to get the court to declare Muhyiddin’s advice to suspend Parliament during the emergency as unconstitutional, rewording his earlier call upon the Agong to revoke the emergency.

Police later said Anwar was being investigated, with a report lodged in Perak claiming he had committed sedition by questioning the Agong’s constitutional power to declare emergency rule.

Two other reports were said to have been lodged in Kuala Lumpur and Seremban.

Perak police chief Mior Faridalathrash Wahid said the investigations are being carried out under Section 505(b) of the Penal Code on causing public alarm and fear leading to offences detrimental to public peace, and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act on the misuse of the internet.

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