PETALING JAYA: Confusion reigned in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday following several unprecedented abrupt adjournments in the wake of a royal rebuke of the government’s handling of the Emergency Ordinances.
And for several hours, Parliament was in lockdown when it was announced that two new Covid-19 cases had been detected and everyone was barred from leaving Parliament grounds pending RTK-Antigen saliva tests on all of them.
Chaos erupted just before lunch when Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim stood up to interrupt debates after a briefing by Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz on the government’s Covid-19 economic packages.The Port Dickson MP drew the House’s attention to a statement issued by the palace, voicing the King’s displeasure over the recent revocation of six Emergency Ordinances announced on Monday.
“The statement by Istana Negara clearly states that the administration under the leadership of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has violated the principles under the Constitution and is disrespectful of the King’s edict,” he said amidst thumps and cheers from Opposition lawmakers.
“We have no choice but to demand that the Prime Minister step down.”
Anwar added that the government’s action had led to a constitutional crisis for the nation.
Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon tried to quell the uproar and said MPs should only speak based on Standing Orders.
To this, Gobind Singh Deo (PH-Puchong) insisted that a ruling be made on his motions submitted on Wednesday against Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Takiyiddin Hassan for misleading the Dewan Rakyat on Monday with regard to the revocation of six Emergency Ordinances.
Tan Sri Noh Omar (BN-Tanjong Karang) then suggested that Mohd Rashid temporarily adjourn the sitting until the issue was resolved as it was related to the Constitution.Neither Muhyiddin nor Takiyuddin were spotted in the House during the ruckus.
Mohd Rashid then announced that he was invoking Standing Order 12(2) to adjourn the sitting for 15 minutes at about 12.30pm.
But upon resuming the chair after the short break, he announced again that the House would recess for lunch and resume at 2.30pm amidst jeers from Opposition lawmakers.There was much anticipation following the lunch break when Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said assumed the chair at 2.30pm.
But she also invoked Standing Order 12(2) and announced that the sitting would be adjourned until 3.30pm, resulting in another uproar.Although several MPs had stood to question this decision, Azalina calmly stood up and left the hall.
Lawmakers were stunned and outraged when the House resumed its sitting at 3.30pm under Mohd Rashid after he announced another adjournment following the detection of two Covid-19 cases among Parliament personnel.
He told lawmakers and Parliament personnel present that they would be barred from leaving Parliament grounds pending RTK-Antigen saliva tests on all of them, adding that the decision was based on recommendations by the Health Ministry.Mohd Rashid adjourned the sitting till 5.15pm but subsequently announced that the House would resume its sitting on Monday.
Tests on MPs and Parliament personnel were reportedly completed at about 7pm.