KUALA LUMPUR, July 27 — Opposition lawmakers urged Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun today to compel the government to explain its sudden announcement on the revocation of the Emergency Ordinances (EO) yesterday.
They began making the call after Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba completed his 55-minute speech on efforts being taken by his ministry to combat Covid-19.
First to interject was Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo who appealed to Azhar, also know as Art Harun, to order Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan into the House to say if the Yang Di Pertuan Agong has assented to the revocation.
Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh then told Azhar to specify the standing order used to allow Takiyddin to delay his response.
Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim then urged Azhar to allow Takiyuddin to briefly state if the government has obtained royal approval for the revocation.
“He (Takiyuddin) cannot hide behind the Speaker, now he is using the excuse that he is following the Speaker’s instructions. So I am asking you, please allow the minister to confirm whether the Yang Di Pertuan Agong assented to the EO revocation or not.
“We can accept what the answer might be, but do not leave it to assumption. However I am confident from his manner of response that it was never assented by the Agong,” he said.
Semporna MP Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal joined in to say the announcement of the revocation should have come from Istana Negara, and not the executive in the Parliament.
“This suggests there is no separation of powers, we have no separations of powers, the Speaker has the power.
“If that’s the case then we have to correct them, because the proclamation of the Emergency was made by the executive and we have to change the Federal Constitution,” he exclaimed.
DAP secretary-general and Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng then asserted that Azhar, as a qualified lawyer, should know that justice delayed against those still affected by the revoked laws was equivalent to justice denied.
“We cannot wait until Monday, there is much confusion in and outside this hall, what is the state of the constitution if this is allowed,” he questioned.
Azhar then responded by saying he allocated the additional time for Takiyuddin to address the floor as things had gotten slightly out of hand yesterday, blaming it on the lawmakers’ “enthusiasm”.
“Yesterday we were supposed to speak about the National Recovery Committee, but we could not complete because things got a little messy because everyone was very enthusiastic, so we ended up having a mixed bag yesterday.
“So, according to the daily order, matters involving the EO will be on Monday.
“Whether or not the procedures were taken, or whether the Yang Di Pertuan Agong had assented or not and other matters, let’s wait for Monday,” he said before muting the MPs’ microphones and prompting Kuala Selangor MP Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad to begin his speech.
MPs were pressing Azhar for an answer after Takiyuddin said in the morning session that he was willing to clear doubts on the EO’s revocation but was only complying to the Speaker’s ruling.
Takiyuddin had said the Speaker made a ruling for him to have the floor next Monday, and would be guided by the Azhar’s directions. This triggered uproar from the Opposition.
Deputy Speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman, who chaired the morning session, then told lawmakers to take up the matter with Azhar later in the day as she did not want to overrule any decision leading to the uproar.