UMNO urges Malaysian government to reconvene parliament within 14 days; failure to do so considered 'treason'
KUALA LUMPUR: The United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) has given the Malaysian government a two-week deadline to reconvene parliament.
Party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said in a statement on Monday (Jun 21) that it was important to reconvene parliament to bring forth demands and hopes of the people amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to ensuring accountability in the government’s administrative affairs.
READ: Malaysia parliament should reconvene as soon as possible, says king after special rulers' conference
There was no need to make excuses over the terms "as soon as possible" or "immediately" which were used in the two press statements on parliament sitting, as both reflected the common stance of King Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and the Malay rulers, Ahmad Zahid said.
“UMNO stands firm in urging the government to respect the decree of the king and the rulers and reconvene parliament in the next 14 days from the date of this statement,” he said.
Ahmad Zahid added that failure to do so would be considered as a form of “treason” and “disrespect” to the royal institution.
The former deputy prime minister added that his party's supreme council would be meeting in the near future to finalise its next course of action on the matter.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said a committee comprising government and opposition representatives has been formed to look into important aspects before parliament is reconvened.
He added in the statement that the committee would consider whether the sitting would be a hybrid or a physical parliamentary sitting.
Adding that the government had to look into all matters to avoid problems after the implementation, Mr Muhyiddin stressed that he had no intention to delay the reconvening of parliament.
READ: Malaysia rulers say no need for state of emergency beyond Aug 1; call for political temperature to be cooled down
On Jun 16, the palace had issued a statement calling for parliamentary sittings to reconvene as soon as possible, after the king chaired a special rulers' conference.
"After reviewing all the perspectives of the leaders of the political parties, the 2021 Independent Emergency Special Committee as well as briefings by experts from government agencies, His Majesty expressed the view that parliamentary sessions should be held as soon as possible,” said the statement.
This came a day after Mr Muhyiddin said parliament could reconvene in September or October this year during the third phase of the national recovery plan.
The king first declared a state of emergency on Jan 12 to curb the spread of COVID-19. The emergency was scheduled to last until Aug 1 or earlier depending on the state of coronavirus infections.
Since it was declared, federal parliamentary sessions and state legislative assemblies have not sat. No elections were held during this period.
The suspension of parliament was seen as a move that helped Mr Muhyiddin avoid an immediate challenge to his razor-thin majority in the august house.
Opposition leaders have pleaded with the king against extending the state of emergency and called for parliament to reconvene.
On Jun 16, the rulers also released a statement saying there was no need to extend the state of emergency beyond Aug 1.
READ: Malaysian government acknowledges king's views, says PMO after palace calls for parliament to reconvene
De facto law minister Takiyuddin Hassan said in an online interview on Jun 16 that the king had not specified an exact date on when the parliament should be in session.
"His Majesty did not say which month (parliament) should be held, just that it should be soon," he said.