Friday, April 2, 2021

Agong can allow Parliament to convene during emergency, says palace

Istana Negara says this can be done at a suitable date on the advice of the prime minister.

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The palace today refuted the notion that the declaration of emergency bars Parliament from convening, saying the Yang di-Pertuan Agong can allow Parliament to convene at a suitable date during the state of emergency on the advice of the prime minister.

It said this is provided for in sub-paragraph 14(1)(b) of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 which states that Parliament is called, discontinued and dissolved at such times considered suitable by the Agong on the advice of the prime minister.

“Therefore, the response of some that the proclamation of emergency stops Parliament from convening is not correct,” it said in a statement by Comptroller of the Royal Household of Istana Negara, Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin.

It said Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah had consented to an audience with Dewan Rakyat Speaker Azhar Harun at the palace today.

“At the audience, His Majesty stressed that for Malaysia as a country that practises a democratic system based on the supremacy of the constitution, every branch of government whether the executive, the judiciary or Parliament must always hold fast to that principle.

“In connection with that, the Agong put forth his view that Parliament can convene during the emergency period at a date considered suitable by His Majesty on the advice of the prime minister.”

The state of emergency, which is expected to continue until August, was implemented in mid-January under Clause (1) of Article 150 of the Federal Constitution.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said then that the civilian government would continue to function with no interruption to either economic activities or the judicial system.

“The judiciary will continue to be the beacon of justice in our country and I will never interfere in the business of the courts,” he said.

The palace today said that the move to declare a state of emergency was a proactive step to curb the spread of Covid-19 which has so far claimed more than 1,000 lives in the country.

It also conveyed the king’s appreciation to the government, in particular the ministries of health and science, technology and innovation as well as the relevant agencies, for their efforts to bring about the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.

“His Majesty expresses his thanks to the frontline heroes for the sacrifices they have made without considering time or effort in the fight against Covid-19.”

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