Umno president: Hybrid or not, time to let Dewan Rakyat sit again

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Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic) chided Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun over the latter’s statement that appeared to favour parliamentary suspension. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (pic) chided Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun over the latter’s statement that appeared to favour parliamentary suspension. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, June 5 — Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today said Parliament should be allowed to reconvene, no matter what form it takes.

He took to Facebook today in response to comments by de facto law minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan yesterday, where the latter said that the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government is researching ways to run Parliament sessions via hybrid mode after sessions were suspended following the Emergency Proclamation in January.

“It does not matter. Hybrid or whatever as long as the country’s democratic system can be restored immediately.

“For so long, the democratic right of the people to have their voice heard has been denied and ignored.

“Parliament needs to reconvene to find a solution on how to deal with the Covid-19 cases, and revive the country’s economy as well as help people who are severely affected,” he added.

In the same Facebook post, Zahid also chided Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun over the latter’s statement that appeared to favour parliamentary suspension, reminding him that he has a responsibility to uphold the country’s highest legislative body.

“I am still confused by the recent statement of the Dewan Rakyat Speaker. He seems to support the suspension of the parliamentary session.

“The Dewan Rakyat Speaker should uphold the institution of Parliament as the most important pillar of democracy.

“The Dewan Rakyat Speaker is supposed to defend Parliament as a legislative body that represents the rights of the people.

“The grounds for suspension as sanctioned under the law and enforceable through the power of the Cabinet is quite erratic,” he said.

Last week, the Dewan Rakyat Speaker was reported as saying that he is ever-ready for Parliament to reconvene, even amid the Emergency and Covid-19 pandemic, as all the standard operating procedures (SOPs) are in place.

According to Malay daily Utusan Malaysia, Azhar said it is up to the government to decide whether Parliament can sit, citing Article 40 of the Federal Constitution.

Article 40(1) states: “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, except as otherwise provided by this Constitution; but shall be entitled, at his request, to any information concerning the government of the Federation which is available to the Cabinet.”

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah declared a state of Emergency on January 12 to curb the spread of Covid-19.

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