PETALING JAYA，Jan 19: Umno MP Azalina Othman Said has shot down her party’s move to “petition the King” to summon Parliament to meet and discuss the emergency proclamation, saying she disagreed with it.
Azalina, who is also Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker, said Clause 14(1) of the recently gazetted Emergency Ordinance 2021 states that Parliament can only be called to sit as deemed fit by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
“In my opinion, the likelihood of the Agong calling for a Parliament sitting soon or revoking the proclamation and ordinances is very slim,” she said in a letter to Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan.
Earlier today, Annuar Musa revealed that Ahmad had written to Umno MPs urging them to support a parliamentary sitting to discuss the emergency, an action the Ketereh MP claimed to be tantamount to “treason”.
Ahmad’s letter, seen by FMT, urged all Umno and Barisan Nasional MPs to support an agreement to “carry out Article 150(3) of the Federal Constitution so as to summon the Parliament immediately”. The letter was also copied to party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Citing Article 150(8) of the Federal Constitution, Azalina said the proclamation of emergency by the King could not be challenged, but pointed out that there were alternatives that could be brought up to the ruler.
This included a proposal to form a special bipartisan committee to advise the King on issues related to the freedom and rights of the people during the emergency, adding that power can be given to call up citizens for their insights and input.
The Pengerang MP added that Umno MPs and senators who were members of parliamentary select committees could still play their roles actively during this period, while grievances of the people could be raised by Umno ministers at Cabinet meetings.
“Umno MPs are still getting allocations from the government and have the freedom to move across states to go to the ground,” she said.
Azalina added that the Perikatan Nasional (PN) presidential council was another platform Umno could use to channel any input or complaints on government policies during the emergency and lockdown.
“Based on my study and research on other countries that have declared a state of emergency to curb Covid-19, it was found that the Parliament proceedings in those countries had continued.
“However, their emergency proclamation did not have any legal impact like in our country, as enshrined by Article 150 of the Federal Constitution.
“The emergency proclamations in those countries were done through specific laws that do not affect the fundamental freedoms enshrined under written law and does not allow them to enact ordinances as allowed by Article 150(2B) of Malaysia’s Federal Constitution,” she said.
She added that these other countries had made prior preparations to ensure Parliament proceedings could go on safely, including holding it online.
“This was not done in our country in the previous Parliament proceedings.”