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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 25 — DAP’s Lim Guan Eng today pressured Parliament Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan @ Harun to act swiftly and decide on a date for the Dewan Rakyat to convene following the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s decree that lawmakers can meet during the current Emergency period.
The DAP secretary-general today claimed that Azhar, as Speaker, should be prioritising, upholding, defending, and preserving the sanctity of Parliament as spelt out by the Federal Constitution, but had instead succumbed to pressure from the executive branch and condoned the suspension of Parliament.
“Instead, the King has shown a keener awareness than Azhar of the importance of Parliament and respect the electoral mandate of the rakyat.
“Azhar should not sit back, twiddle his thumbs and wait for developments or direction from the Prime Minister, who naturally would want to delay any parliamentary session.
“Azhar should atone for his past failures and redeem his previous inertia or inaction by seeking an early Parliamentary session to restore democracy and people’s power,” Lim wrote in a statement today.
This after the Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah yesterday decreed that Parliament can reconvene even during the current Emergency period, at a date that will be decided with the advice of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
A statement delivering the decree included how the King, during a royal audience had stressed to both Parliament Speaker Datuk Seri Azhar Azizan Harun and Dewan Negara Speaker Tan Sri Rais Yatim that Malaysia as a democratic country that upholds the Constitution, must ensure all branches of its administration abide by this principle.
Lim today added how the issue of reconvening Parliament must be treated with utmost importance by Azhar, considering a special audience with the King was granted to discuss the matter.
He added that Pakatan Harapan leaders will also seek a meeting with the Speaker soon to express to him the urgency in the need to restore Parliament.
There have been several suits filed in court challenging the PN government’s decision to suspend Parliament during the Emergency.
Outside the court, other lawmakers allied with the ruling PN, including Deputy Speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, had openly criticised Parliament’s suspension.
She penned a letter earlier this month addressed to Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun, criticising his advice to the PN government, saying he should have offered suggestions to enable Parliament to sit during the Emergency that was called purportedly to combat the health and economic crises brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Azalina pointed out that many other governments in countries with worse Covid-19 cases than Malaysia’s had continued with parliamentary sittings, and cited the UK as an example.