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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Muhyiddin taking final step to save himself, say MPs


MPs say the PM is postponing the Dewan Rakyat sitting in his last attempt to save himself. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Opposition MPs have decried the decision to postpone Monday’s sitting of the Dewan Rakyat, saying it reeked of cowardice on the part of the government and it was proof that Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has lost majority support.

PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the postponement was a political move by Muhyiddin to avoid calls for him to prove his parliamentary majority on Monday.

“With this new development and the crisis between the prime minister and the Palace, it further exposes him as a troubled prime minister,” he told FMT.

“Muhyiddin is under more pressure and this (postponing Parliament) is his last attempt to save himself,” he added.

Amanah deputy president Salahuddin Ayub said the move proved that Muhyiddin was “scared” to go to Parliament.

“He has lost his credibility, his honour and is in an open war with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong,” he told FMT.

Both MPs were referring to the disagreement between Istana Negara and the Prime Minister’s Office over the revocation of the emergency ordinances – laws made by decree without reference to Parliament.

The postponement was announced earlier today in a circular to all MPs from Dewan Rakyat secretary Nizam Mydin Bacha Mydin.

It stated that the postponement was made by Muhyiddin in accordance with the Standing Orders and was in line with risk analysis by the health ministry.

Eleven Covid-19 positive cases were detected in Parliament, making up less than 1% of the 1,183 samples taken.

However, Salahuddin said the prime minister’s actions had disgraced the country and Parliament. He said Muhyiddin could not “run away” from today’s decision.

He also said “the Speaker’s image is ruined” and both the Speaker, Azhar Azizan Harun, and Muhyiddin were “not brave enough to face us on Monday”.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng also suggested that the postponement had come about so that Muhyiddin could avoid a vote in the Dewan Rakyat.

Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan, who is Pontian MP, said many MPs were expecting such a move from Muhyiddin.

“Many parties think it’s not because of Covid-19,” he said on Twitter. “The political crisis must be resolved immediately and the constitutional crisis must be addressed. Face it bravely…”

Former prime minister Najib Razak, who is Pekan MP, questioned how Covid-19 had “suddenly attacked” Parliament after the King’s rebuke of the government, saying they had disrespected the law, disregarded the role and powers of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and deceived Parliament.

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii of DAP questioned the basis for the decision to postpone the sitting, saying that there was no scientific basis for claiming there was an outbreak of Covid-19 in Parliament House.

Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah of PKR said the government has to answer to Parliament and the rakyat about the revocation of the emergency ordinances. The decision to postpone the Parliament sitting because of Covid-19 was the “weakest excuse”, she said.

She added that “tampering” with the Federal Constitution and misinforming Parliament and the rakyat are “serious offences”, and noted that leaders in other countries had resigned for lesser offences.

“If they are so-called leaders, be brave to stand up for your actions,” she said.

Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said he would still head to Parliament House on Monday despite the announcement of the postponement.

“You want to stop me, stop me. I’m not scared,” he said.

DAP’s 42 MPs would also go to Parliament House at 10am on Monday, Lim Guan Eng said.

The postponement of the Dewan Rakyat sitting came after the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had expressed his displeasure over the government’s announcement that the Cabinet had decided to revoke the emergency ordinances, saying he had not given his consent.

The Dewan Rakyat erupted into chaos with calls for Muhyiddin to resign and the day’s sitting was suspended four times on Thursday. It was then adjourned for MPs and parliamentary staff to be tested for Covid-19 where two cases were discovered on Parliament grounds.

Since then, DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang has been among those calling for a no-confidence vote against Muhyiddin on Monday.

Lawyer calls for new council to run country

In a separate development, lawyer Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla has suggested that a new emergency ordinance be drafted to extend the state of emergency until Dec 31 or a date based on the King’s discretion.

He also suggested that administrative powers during the extended state of emergency be given to a “Royal Advisory Council” which would advise the King.

He said the government would then be able to manage the Covid-19 pandemic without political interference. - FMT

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