After a long time, the parliament finally reconvened this week, although for a short time only. But what a week it has been!
Many Malaysians tuned in to watch the sessions or catch snippets of some of the more interesting moments on social media. So much drama; even more than what usually happens in Parliament.
But yesterday (29 July 2021) was probably even more interesting than the first few days with the palace coming into picture as well.
That's saying something considering the days before involved plenty of arguments, name-callings, sexism and more. But we digress.
No more emergency but nobody knew about it
There's been a lot of confusion since parliament started on Monday, after the de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan suddenly announced that the Emergency was revoked on 21 July.
That came as a shock to the Member of Parliaments (MPs) in the august house, which led to some commotion.
According to The Edge,
Takiyuddin was answering a question by opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on why the Ordinances promulgated during this Proclamation of Emergency earlier this year was not included in the parliamentary agenda.
The report also explained that the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on 5 July announced that parliament will be in session between 26 July and 2 August to explain the country's Recovery Plan to MPs, amend all the necessary laws and rules to enable hybrid Parliament sittings as well for the Proclamation of Emergency and ordinances that came into effect during the period to be laid out in parliament.
Under Article 150(3) of the Malaysian Constitution, a Proclamation of Emergency and any ordinance promulgated (translate: laws that came into effect) during the period will have to be presented in parliament and annulled if the parliament decides to do so.
There were reports of Malaysians being fined for going against some of the ordinances between 21 July and when the parliament was told that the ordinances have been revoked. Do the people against whom action were taken under the ordinances between this period ignore it?
On 29 July, few days after the parliament and rest of Malaysia found out that we're no longer under Emergency, the palace released a statement calling out the government.
The PDF statement from the palace was shared across all its social media platforms and became the talk of the town.
Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah has not given his consent to revoke Emergency, the statement read.
"Article 150(2B), read together with Article 150(3) of the Federal Constitution, clearly lays the power to declare and revoke ordinances with His Majesty.
"In line with this, His Majesty is deeply saddened by the statement made in parliament on Jul 26 that the government has revoked all emergency ordinances proclaimed by His Majesty throughout the state of emergency period, while the revocation has not been consented to by His Majesty," the statement further explained.
The term "dukacita
" was used in the statement twice, underscoring the depth of the King's disappointment.
According to the statement, the palace had consented to the suggestion of Takiyuddin and Attorney-General Idrus Harun to table and debate the emergency ordinances in the parliament.
"His Majesty stressed that the minister's statement in the parliament on Jul 26 is not accurate and has misled the MPs," the statement read.
The statement also indicated that the revocation of the Emergency and contradictory statements given in parliament was a disrespect to the rule of law.
Anwar has filed a motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin after the palace's statement and UMNO has called for his resignation.
Despite acting like the opposition, UMNO is still a part of the government. In case you have forgotten, there are many UMNO members who are in the cabinet even when they try to steer clear from all the criticism against the ruling government.
Interestingly, the parliament was adjourned several times after the statement was released but it had nothing to do with the statement itself.
The parliament was under lockdown and everyone had to undergo COVID-19 tests as two people within the building reportedly tested positive for the virus.
No parliament cluster has been reported but 11 cases
were recorded including the initial two. Although parliament reconvened at 5.15 p.m. nothing exciting occurred after before it adjourned for the week. It will reconvene on Monday.
While testings were being done at the parliament, there were reports of politicians, especially ministers, heading to the Prime Minister's residence.
Few hours later, there was yet another PDF statement released by the PMO.
As is the norm for the current Prime Minisiter, a PDF statement was released in response to the palace's PDF statement.
If you had hoped for some form of accountability, we applaud your optimism in the face of mounting evidences of the lack of it in this government.
PMO said that all actions taken in relation to the revocation of Emergency was in accordance to the law.
It said that the special parliament seating was arranged in accordance to His Majesty's wishes and preparations were made in line with that.
"Firstly, the special Parliament sitting received the approval of the King.
"Secondly, the Cabinet will not advise the King to proclaim an extension to the Emergency beyond Aug 1, 2021.
"Thirdly, because the Emergency was not extended, the Cabinet decided to advise the King to revoke all the Emergency Ordinances which was proclaimed throughout the Emergency was enforced," the statement read.
It also claimed that the Prime Minister had presented a letter informing the King of the cabinet's decision in 23 July 2021.
TL;DR: PMO says that the King was aware of the revocation of Emergency and the ordinances related to it.
It also blamed the Opposition for creating confusion by urging the parliament to annul the Emergency Ordinances promulgated by His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
This is when the Law Minister told the parliament of the cabinet's decision.
"It is a statement of fact intended to inform the Dewan Rakyat of the situation in a transparent manner," the statement read.
So, let us get this straight:
- The palace said that the Emergency was revoked without the King's consent but the PMO is saying that the King knew of the cabinet's decision.
- PMO is also saying that since the Emergency isn't going to be extended, the cabinet did not ask the King for his consent to revoke the ordinances.
- PMO is also saying that the Prime Minister met with the King on 27 July after the uproar in parliament to explain the situation.
- The statement from the palace was released on 29 July so what happened there?
- PMO is also blaming the opposition for creating confusion although reports as well as the statement from the palace suggests that one of the reasons for the parliament sessions was convened was to discuss matters pertaining to the Emergency.
But who wouldn't be confused if no announcements were made regarding a decision that impact the entire nation until questions were posed in a place where those responsible have no choice but to answer?
We, the rakyat, are definitely confused. Somebody please make this country make sense.
As the Parliament is set to meet again on Monday, it will be interesting to see what other 'drama' awaits us.