KUCHING, June 6 — The Sarawak State Legislative Assembly (DUN) remains in effect despite its five-year term which last day is today (June 6) due to the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 promulgated by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong until August 1.
Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar said the DUN shall unless sooner dissolved on June 6, continue for five years from the date of its first sitting and shall then stand dissolved pursuant to Article 21(3) of the Sarawak State Constitution.
“June 6 which is a Sunday is the last day of the term of the 18th DUN Sarawak. By June 7, which is Monday and public holiday for Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s Birthday, the DUN Sarawak should therefore be dissolved pursuant to Article 21(3) of the State Constitution.
“However, this Article 21(3) of the State Constitution is temporarily suspended because it is superseded and taken over by the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 promulgated by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong which comes with force on January 21 until August 1,” he said in a statement today.
According to Mohd Asfia, the Emergency Ordinance is supreme and takes precedence over the State Constitution and any other written laws pursuant to Article 150 (Proclamation of Emergency) of the Federal Constitution and Section 18 of the Emergency Ordinance.
He said Section 18 of the Emergency Ordinance reads: “In the event of any conflict or inconsistency between the provisions of this Ordinance and any other written law, the provisions of this Ordinance shall prevail and the conflicting or inconsistent provisions of such other written law shall be deemed to be superseded to the extent of the conflict or inconsistency.”
“This is buttressed by Article 150(4) of the Federal Constitution which reads: ‘While a Proclamation of Emergency is in force the executive authority of the Federation shall, notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, extend to any matter within the legislative authority of a State and to the giving of directions to the Government of a State or to any officer or authority thereof’.”
Section 18 of the Emergency Ordinance stipulates that in the event of any conflict or inconsistency between the provisions of the Emergency Ordinance and any other written law, the Emergency Ordinance shall prevail.
Given this, he said the current term of the Sarawak DUN therefore does not expire on June 6 and continues to function until August 1 as specified in the Emergency Ordinance.
As such, Mohd Asfia said the DUN all its 82 honorable members and the cabinet ministers continue to perform their duties and responsibilities under the umbrella and protection of the Emergency Ordinance.
“The raison d’etre for the imposition of the Emergency Ordinance is expressly stated in its preamble: ‘Whereas by reason of the existence of a grave emergency threatening the security, economic life and public order of the Federation arising from the epidemic of an infectious disease, namely Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19), a Proclamation of Emergency has been issued by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong under Article 150 of the Federal Constitution.
“And whereas the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is satisfied that immediate action is required to guarantee and preserve the security, economic life and public order,” he said.
The Speaker pointed out that this preamble is consistent and synonymous with Article 150(1) of the Federal Constitution which states: “If the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is satisfied that a grave emergency exists whereby the security, or the economic life, or public order in the Federation or any part thereof is threatened, he may issue a Proclamation of Emergency making therein a declaration to that effect.”
Article 150(8) of the Federal Constitution reinforces the position of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, he stressed.
“In the event of any conflict between the provisions of the Federal Constitution and any written laws, the provisions of the Federal Constitution shall prevail.”
He said Article 4(1) of the Federal Constitution states: “This Constitution is the supreme law of the Federation and any law passed after Merdeka Day which is inconsistent with this Constitution shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void.”
Mohd Asfia said an Emergency to suspend or defer election can also thereafter be proclaimed as is the case for the Parliamentary seats of Batu Sapi in Sabah which by-election should have been held on December 5 last year and Gerik in Perak on January 16.
“Similarly for the state seats of Bugaya in Sabah, the by-election of which should have been held on the same date of Batu Sapi and Melor in Kelantan with no date fixed.
“For all these constituencies’ by-elections no date has been fixed. These four by-elections which should have taken place but have not taken place conclusively prove beyond any shadow of doubt that an election or by-election cannot be held where the consent of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is withheld,” he added.
Towards this purpose, he said he should inform the Election Commission that the Sarawak DUN is not dissolved today (June 6) and shall continue its term until August 1. — Borneo Post