KUALA LUMPUR, March 4 — Barisan Nasional chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Pakatan Harapan counterpart Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim issued separate statements tonight that both demanded the restoration of Parliament.
Both insisted that this must be done given that Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah has unequivocally decreed that the federal legislature can convene notwithstanding the current Emergency.
Zahid said there was no reason not to reconvene Parliament given that the movement control order will expire today.
“The supremacy of the Federal Constitution must be upheld to allow Parliament to play its fair role in ensuring check and balance,” he said in a statement.
Today, Zahid said BN was appealing to the Agong to, if he saw fit, invoke his powers as contained in the Emergency Ordinance to urgently summon Parliament for a meeting.
The Umno president said there were urgent matters affecting Malaysians, the country’s political stability, and economic prospects that must be discussed among federal lawmakers.
Separately, Opposition leader Anwar said PH lawmakers were extremely disappointed with the government’s refusal to heed the Agong’s decree.
In seemingly coordinated remarks, Anwar also cited the supremacy of the Constitution in urging for the urgent restoration of Parliament.
As with Zahid, Anwar argued that Section 14(1)(b)of the Emergency Ordinance (Necessary Powers) 2021 in conjunction with Article 40(2) of the Federal Constitution empowered the Agong to summon Parliament by decree.
“[We] humbly and sincerely beseech Tuanku Agong, if he so desires, to decree that Parliament convene for the following matters to be tabled,” Anwar said in the statement.
The statement goes on to list matters requiring Parliament’s attention, such as the current powers of the government under the Emergency, the country’s Covid-19 situation, the welfare of lower income groups, and Malaysia’s economic recovery.
On February 24, the Agong issued a decree saying Parliament could convene during the current Emergency and should do so soon.
Yesterday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Parliament) Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan claimed it was still unsafe to convene Parliament, purportedly because many parliamentarians were in the high-risk group for Covid-19 infections.
He also said there was no need for Parliament as the government could enact laws without the legislature using Emergency powers.
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