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Saturday, July 31, 2021

PM postpones Monday's Parliament sitting to later date, cites Covid-19 risk


The Dewan Rakyat sitting on Monday has been postponed to a yet to be determined date, due to a "Covid-19 risk".

According to a letter to MPs from the Dewan Rakyat secretary's office, the order to postpone the sitting was relayed to the speaker's office from Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin as per Standing Order 11(3).

Curiously, Standing Order 11(3) gives the prime minister the ability to summon Parliament earlier if there is an adjournment and does not say anything about postponing Parliament.

However, there is a special provision known as Standing Order 100, which allows the speaker to decide on matters not explicitly covered by the rules - such as a virus outbreak.

The letter to MPs said the postponement was in line with a suggestion from Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah and a risk assessment by the ministry which found that Parliament was at risk for the spread of Covid-19.

A total of 11 Covid-19 cases had been detected in Parliament on Thursday.

However, an aide to Senate president Rais Yatim indicated that the head of the Upper House would be issuing a statement that there had been more cases detected in Parliament since then.

The postponement comes amid what critics claim to be a constitutional crisis between the federal government and the monarchy.

On Thursday, the Yang Di Pertuan Agong gave the government a royal rebuke, accusing de facto Law Minister Takiyuddin Hassan of misleading the Dewan Rakyat by saying that emergency ordinances had been revoked - despite not receiving royal consent.

The Prime Minister's Office, in response, defended its decisions saying they had acted within the Federal Constitution which also stated that the king must follow the cabinet's advice.

PKR president Anwar Ibrahim has accused the government of using Covid-19 as a ruse to obstruct Parliament proceedings. - Mkini

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