Actions to revoke COVID-19 emergency laws were in line with Malaysia’s laws and Constitution: PMO
KUALA LUMPUR: Actions taken by the Malaysian government in revoking COVID-19 emergency ordinances were in line with the country's laws and Constitution, said the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) after the palace issued a statement indicating that the king did not give consent to the decision.
The PMO said the Cabinet had already advised King Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah to repeal the ordinances before the ongoing special parliament meeting began.
In a statement on Thursday (Jul 29) evening, the PMO provided a chronology of events on cancelling the emergency ordinances, which were put in place after a state of emergency was announced in January to curb the spread of COVID-19 cases.
In a meeting on Jul 21 ahead of the special parliament meeting, the Cabinet had decided to advise the king to revoke the ordinances, the statement read. The following day, the PMO received the draft Emergency Ordinance (Repeal) 2021 from the Attorney General’s Chamber, which provided for the ordinances to be cancelled effective Jul 21.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin then wrote to the king on Jul 23 to convey the Cabinet’s advice for the relevant ordinances to be cancelled.
“This office noted that as stated in today’s palace statement, His Majesty is aware that he has to accept and act in accordance with the Cabinet’s advice, as provided for in Article 40 of the Federal Constitution,” the PMO said.
The king then summoned de facto law minister Takiyuddin Hassan and the attorney general for an audience to provide detailed explanation on the advice, the statement added.
When the special parliamentary meeting began on Monday, all emergency ordinances were laid on the MPs’ tables. However, opposition MPs demanded for the cancellation of the emergency ordinances to go through the House of Representatives.
Following that, Mr Takiyuddin then informed the MPs that the government, through the Cabinet, had decided to revoke the ordinances.
“This is a factual statement intended to inform the House of Representatives of the real situation in a transparent manner,” the PMO said.
Mr Takiyuddin’s announcement had raised questions on whether the king had consented to the revocation. As such, Mr Muhyiddin and the attorney general sought an audience with the king on Tuesday.
“During the audience, the prime minister once again conveyed the Cabinet’s advice on revoking the said emergency ordinances and provided an explanation over the confusion that the opposition had tried to cause in the House of Representatives,” the statement read.
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“The prime minister also conveyed the government’s views that these emergency ordinances do not have to be annulled at the parliament, since the Cabinet had already advised the king to revoke them,” the PMO said, adding that the agenda of the ongoing meeting did not include a motion on annulling the ordinances.
“The government was of the opinion that all actions taken are orderly and in accordance with the provisions of the laws and the Federal Constitution.
“The prime minister stressed that in carrying out his duties and responsibilities, it is important for him to act in accordance with the laws and Constitution. Therefore, the prime minister advised the people to always remain calm and god willing, the issue will be resolved in accordance with laws and Constitution.”
Mr Takiyuddin had announced on Monday that the months-long state of emergency will not be extended beyond Aug 1, adding that the six emergency ordinances had been revoked and annulled by the government on Jul 21.
Opposition politicians had pressed the minister on whether the king had consented to the revocation, but Mr Takiyuddin said he would answer related questions next Monday.
However, the national palace said on Thursday that King Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah did not give consent to revoke the COVID-19 emergency ordinances. The king described the minister's statement in the parliament as "contradictory and misleading".
"His Majesty stressed that the minister's statement in the parliament on Jul 26 is not accurate and has misled the MPs," the statement added.
Following the palace statement, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim filed a motion of no confidence at the parliament, while the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) called for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to resign.
Deputy Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the unstable political situation could jeopardise efforts to solve Malaysia’s economic problems and fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I wish to stress that the government still has the support of over 110 MPs,” he said.
“As such, I hope the people remain calm in facing the current situation and together we pray that the political turmoil will end quickly.”