Emergency Ordinances revoked on understanding that the King wanted it done, says former Senate chief

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 31 Jul 2021

PETALING JAYA: The Emergency Ordinances were revoked on the understanding that the King wanted this done following a decision not to extend the Ordinances beyond Sunday (Aug 1) says former Senate president Tan Sri SA Vigneswaran.

"Why then did the government revoke the Ordinances before its natural death on Aug 1?

"The most logical explanation... is that the government had understood His Majesty's order that he does not want the Emergency Ordinance to continue beyond its current term to also have an implied meaning that His Majesty desires to revoke it," the MIC president said in a statement on Saturday (July 31).

He said the King had given clear orders to reconvene Parliament on the earliest date possible over the matter.

"His Majesty announced this after considering all the views by political leaders, the Special Independent Committee on the Emergency as well as experts and members of government agencies," he said.

However, he said the request by the King for the Emergency Ordinances to be tabled during the special sitting of Parliament would be a setback for national stability.

"Since the declaration of the Emergency Ordinance in January 2021, our nation has been subject to immense political and economical instability, taking a grave toll on lives and livelihoods.

"The reconvening of Parliament presents our nation with the opportunity to recalibrate and realign the bearing and suspensions (sic) of our country that have unfortunately been interrupted.

"Without disrespect to the King, he noted the Emergency Ordinance would lapse on Sunday (Aug 1) without being extended and any subsequent debate on Monday (Aug 2) would have been redundant.

"The need to hold a debate on Aug 2 will be highly superfluous as it will squander the time awarded for MPs in Parliament to initiate protocols and procedure towards rebuilding the country," he said.

Vigneswaran also said the special sitting of the Parliament was aimed at debating the Covid-19 recovery plan and issues related to the pandemic without any motions tabled in line with the agenda proposed by the government.

He added that it is accepted convention that the list of order papers for parliamentary sessions are set by the government of the day and not the constitutional monarch.

"We are now indeed treading on uncharted waters. The constitutional monarch has begun to play an active role in the executive, although Article 40A(1) of the Federal Constitution expressly states that in the exercise of his functions under this constitution or Federal law, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall act in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet or of a minister acting under the general authority of the Cabinet," he said.

In this respect, he said the King had limited powers which entitled him to request any information concerning the government administrative matters which is available to the Cabinet.

"There is a mandatory requirement for His Majesty to act on advice or after considering the advice of the Cabinet or the prime minister.

"However, we now have a situation where His Majesty is advising the Cabinet what to do.

"The activism by the monarch is much appreciated but the issue here is whether His Majesty's orders are within the parameters of the Constitution even though this is the ultimate check and balance the nation is seeking," he added.

He also noted that both the constitutional monarchy and government have well-defined roles to play, and that any differences should be resolved in discussions.

"Why is dirty linen being washed in public causing a crisis to the people who are already encumbered with a health crisis?

"Differences in views, if any, should not be debated in public but sorted out across the table," he said.

Dewan Rakyat's five-day special sitting began on July 26 and was to have ended on Aug 2 but had been deferred following detection of Covid-19 cases there.

The special sitting was to discuss the Covid-19 pandemic situation, the vaccination process, the national economic recovery plan including the Emergency Ordinances.

However, briefings by the respective ministers did not involve any voting.

At around 3.30pm on Thursday (July 29), Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon announced a lockdown in Parliament after two personnel were found to be Covid-19 positive.

All MPs, parliament staff, and journalists were barred from leaving the grounds until swab tests were carried out.

Following the swab tests, another two staff members were found to be positive.

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