King's decree on no emergency cannot be challenged, says constitutional expert

-Photo by Ronnie Chin

IPOH: The decree issued by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to not proclaim an emergency in the country cannot be challenged in court, says constitutional expert Dr Abdul Aziz Bari (pic).

He said under Article 150 of the Federal Constitution, to declare an emergency is solely a discretionary power of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, and he is not bound by prime ministerial advice.

“Thus there is no need for the members of the Cabinet to further discuss in detail the decree issued by the King.If the answer of the King is no to the emergency, it clearly means ‘no’, ” he told a press conference at the state secretariat building here.

Aziz, who is also the state Opposition whip, said this when he was asked if the government could challenge the matter in court.

He said that Article 150 talks solely about the power of the King in deciding if an emergency should be called or otherwise, and that nothing of the power of a Prime Minister is mentioned.

“The law stands from the time of Independence until now, although there were attempts to make amendments, but it was rejected, ” he added.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Friday (Oct 23) requested the proclamation of emergency under Article 150 (1) to combat the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

However, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah decided that there was no need to proclaim an emergency in the country.

On the Perak state assembly's one-day sitting on Tuesday (Oct 27), Aziz said the Opposition would abide by the King’s advice for all politicians to cease all forms of extreme politicking.

“As politicians, we will uphold the rule of law, and play our role as a constructive opposition within the constitutional rights.

“They are parties who thought that we would boycott the sitting, but we are obliged to the people who elected us and have respect for the august house, ” he added.

Simpang Pulai assemblyman Tan Kar Hing from PKR said the one-day sitting was not sufficient, and that the Perak state government should have lengthened the time period to table the budget, like what the Selangor and Penang state governments had done.

“There is a need to look at the predicaments of the people who are suffering although the national-level budget is not tabled yet. The one-day sitting clearly shows that the state administration is not fast enough to have steps in place for the benefit of the people, ” he added.

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