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Sunday, February 28, 2021

No meeting of Dewan Rakyat in March, says deputy speaker


Meetings of the Dewan Rakyat and other legislative bodies have been suspended under the state of emergency declared in January. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The Dewan Rakyat will not be meeting from March 8 to April 8, the deputy speaker, Rashid Hasnon, said today in dispelling a news report of a possible parliamentary sitting.

Rashid said the Parliament secretariat must give MPs notice of a meeting at least 28 days in advance. “There are procedures we need to adhere to before we can convene the seating,” he told FMT.

A news report earlier today quoting the Parliament website said the first meeting of the fourth session of the 14th Parliament will start on March 8 and end on April 8. However, the report said no order papers had been posted at the website.

The news report comes in the wake of a statement last week from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, about Parliament’s right to convene meetings during a state of emergency.

Under a state of emergency declared in January, meetings of Parliament and other legislative assemblies were suspended for the duration of the emergency period, scheduled to end on Aug 1.

A statement from Istana Negara said “the perception by certain quarters that the proclamation of emergency would stop Parliament from convening is inaccurate”.

The Comptroller of the Royal Household, Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin, said the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021 said Parliament must be called, prorogued and dissolved on a date deemed suitable by the King, on the advice of the prime minister.

Opposition politicians have pressured Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to call for a meeting of the Dewan Rakyat. Among them was former deputy transport minister Aziz Kaprawi who described the King’s statement as a “nightmare” for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, saying the government could no longer do as it pleased.

Amanah deputy president Salahuddin Ayub said Parliament should be reconvened so that the legitimacy of the Perikatan Nasional government could be settled. - FMT

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