Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders today distanced themselves from their chairman’s statement calling for Dewan Rakyat to convene during the emergency period, saying no such decision was made at the Supreme Council meeting last night.
Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, in his capacity as BN chairman, had also urged MPs to press for a parliamentary session, saying the principle of rule of law must be upheld to allow Parliament to play its role of ensuring checks and balance.
But MIC president SA Vigneswaran said those present had agreed not to make any assumptions about the matter.
“There were explanations from several parties that the king did not decree for a Parliament sitting to be held as soon as possible, but was only suggesting that Parliament can sit during the emergency, at a date that he finds suitable on the advice of the prime minister,” he told news portal Malaysiakini.
“Thus, we took the decision not to make any assumption, and there was no need to issue a statement regarding a Parliament session,” he added.
He was referring to the statement issued by Istana Negara on Feb 24, clarifying that the Agong could call for Parliament to convene on the advice of the prime minister.
“Therefore, the response of some that the proclamation of emergency stops Parliament from convening is not correct,” the Comptroller of the Royal Household had said.
Vigneswaran said the BN meeting “never supported any decision to make an appeal to the Agong to order a Parliament sitting to be conducted as soon as possible”.
He was supported by MCA president Wee Ka Siong who told Malaysiakini that “what Vigneswaran said was correct”.
In his statement, Zahid had also criticised Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Takiyuddin Hassan for defending the move to suspend Parliament sessions during the emergency.
Takiyuddin had said that the government’s focus at the moment is on battling the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, Zahid said Takiyuddin’s statement that the government would not recommend that the Dewan Rakyat convene was tantamount to challenging the Agong.