Leaders from Umno, DAP and PKR appeared to be in agreement with each other during a discussion programme last night, as they questioned the legitimacy of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and his advice to the Agong to declare a state of emergency.
In the programme streamed online, Kamal Amir, an Umno veteran who was in the Youth exco in the 80s, DAP’s Abdul Aziz Bari and PKR MP Abdullah Sani insisted that parliamentary proceedings must be held throughout the state of emergency so that Muhyiddin can prove he has support as prime minister.
“People say, at the time he advised the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (to declare an emergency), he did not have legitimacy, but his legitimacy cannot be challenged now because there isn’t (parliament),” said Kamal.
“Yes, I agree,” replied Aziz, who is the Perak opposition leader. “The Agong is only bound to listen to advice from a government that is legitimate,” he added.
Aziz is one of three Pakatan Harapan assemblymen who filed a suit challenging Muhyiddin’s decision to advise the Agong to approve the emergency ordinance.
The law lecturer-turned-politician had in October said the Agong’s decision is final, after Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah declined to invoke his powers to declare an emergency when it was first proposed.
Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Anwar Ibrahim had urged MPs to write to the Agong to rescind the proclamation, but later said that he was only questioning the advice by Muhyiddin, as well as calling for Parliament to convene.
Another panel member, Kapar MP Abdullah, attacked the government for declaring the movement control order (MCO) under which restrictions were placed on businesses as part of efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19.
“We are actually blocking the process of economic growth. This is why I think the government has failed in its duties and allowed people to suffer with continued lay-offs.
“Today, people are forced to steal, people have no food,” he claimed.
Kamal agreed with Abdullah, saying the government was using the emergency ordinance as a pretext to defend its inability to govern.
At one point, the moderator interjected, saying there was a friendly atmosphere and agreement between Umno and DAP.
“The ideas seem to be in alignment,” he said.
Aziz meanwhile accused Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Harun of misinterpreting the law by blocking attempts to topple Muhyiddin in parliament.
“In Perak, we have a speaker who is not from a legal background, but is more honest than the Dewan Rakyat speaker who is a lawyer,” said Aziz.
Since coming to power in March last year, Muhyiddin has survived two critical votes that could have forced him to resign after losing the majority support of MPs.
In July, the government won a motion to replace the speaker with Azhar, and late last year, several attempts to turn the 2021 budget vote into a confidence vote against Muhyiddin ended in victory for the ruling bloc.
Abdullah, a staunch loyalist of his party president Anwar, also scoffed at suggestions that those questioning the emergency proclamation were committing treason against the Agong.
Instead, he condemned those who questioned Anwar’s royal pardon, saying they were the ones who had committed treason.
“The Agong has pardoned Anwar, but they still want to challenge it in court. This is what is called treason. I don’t know what kind of scum they are,” said Abdullah.
In September last year, Anwar failed to stop a suit in the High Court challenging his royal pardon in 2018, days after PH’s election victory.
In his suit, lawyer Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz said the pardon contravened of Articles 42 (4) and (5) of the Federal Constitution, saying it should be based on the advice of the Pardons Board, which Khairul argued had not yet been formally established after the change of government in May 2018.