The Parliament has finally reconvene after a long break since the proclamation of Emergency on 12 January.
Nonetheless, the first day of the Parliament descended into chaos after the opposition lawmakers accused Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for insulting the King for disallowing a debate during the 5-day session.
Nonetheless, there are 5 key takeaways from today’s (26 July) Parliament sitting and they are as follows.
1. Is the Dewan Rakyat Speaker a Government’s lapdog?
Bukit Gelugor Member of Parliament (MP), Ramkarpal Singh (Pakatan Harapan) was the second MP to give his speech in the Dewan Rakyat in the third session of the 14th Parliament today, 26 July.
During his speech, he mocked the Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun for being “a government lapdog” for he had not table the Emergency Ordinance in the Dewan Rakyat before submitting it to the King.
“You were also a lawyer. You understand that the Ordinance and proclamation of Emergency must be brought to the Parliament.” said the DAP representative.
“The Speaker must understand rules that regulate the House, and that it cannot supersede the Constitution.”
“Are you a government lapdog?” Ramkarpal asked, adding that he is a disgrace to this Dewan and is not fit to sit on the chair.
After Ramkarpal said that, it can be heard that several MPs requested him to retract his statement. On the other hand, there were other MPs who gave him their support and shouted “sokong, sokong (support, support)”.
Ramkarpal Singh also asked the Speaker to resign if he indeed has ties with the current government.
2. Mahathir raised grave concerns faced by the citizens of Malaysia
After Ramkarpal, it is the former prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s turn to take the microphone. Nonetheless, he pointed out that today’s session is not a Parliament sitting because the sitting that the country needed was supposed to happen after Malay Rulers and the Agong urged the government to reconvene the Parliament sitting as soon as possible.
Continuing his speech, he said that many Malaysians have lost their loved ones as the Covid-19 pandemic continues its spread in Malaysia. He added that the daily cases and number of deaths have been increasing despite the proclamation of Emergency since 12 January.
“Right now, nearly 200 people are dying every day. Should we wait until 1,000 people die each day, then start discussing ways to address this problem?”
“COVID-19 started with a few hundred being infected (daily). After the Sabah state elections, it went up to 2,000.”
“After the Emergency was proclaimed, it went up to 6,000 and after that, the government came up with a new plan, cases increased to 9,000 and now it is 17,000.” he said.
He added that the government had no effective plans to handle the Covid-19 pandemic and the 5-day Parliament sitting this round is not required if it is only for the ministers to explain their steps to combat the pandemic.
3. Puchong MP told the Prime Minister to resign
When it was Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo’s (PH) turn for the microphone, he concurred with Mahathir that his Parliament sitting does not bring any meaning if votes on Bills were not allowed in the House.
“I heard the Speaker say earlier that you will give space for questions to be asked and debates to be made, but why stop there?” he said, while citing the Standing Orders 100 which empowers the Speaker to make rulings on matters that are not specified in the conduct of the Parliament sitting.
“If the Speaker uses discretion in the rules here to allow us to voice our opinions and also speak out, why not be given space for us to make decisions through this Dewan, where we take a vote to make a decision.”
“I think this is what is needed. If it is true that this government has already failed, I think it is time for the Prime Minister to resign.” Gobind said and he received a round of applause from the floor.
4. The Speaker ended the chaos with a ruling against “everything” the opposition MPs raised
The Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun was furious after the opposition constantly citing the Standing Orders to demand the rights to vote in the Dewan Rakyat.
“You keep bringing up the Standing Orders but you yourself do not follow the Standing Orders. The Standing Orders say when I am speaking, the MPs have to keep quiet.” he said.
“Don’t only listen to the Standing Orders when it is in your favour. It applies across the board.”
Following that, Azhar made a ruling against “everything” raised by the MPs.
“Because you did not want to listen to what I have to say, all I wanted to say is just one thing, I disagree with everything you raised earlier.” he said and insists on moving on to the next agenda.
The MPs then disagreed with the Azhar’s ruling and said that he is misleading the Dewan Rakyat, breaching the Federal Constitution, and dishonouring the wishes of the Agong.
Many MPs were heard saying that they also disagreed with the Speaker’s ruling.
“There is blood on our hands.” Selayang MP William Leong Jee Keen (PKR) said.
“What will we tell their families? We have the chance for Parliament to serve the rakyat,” he said, adding that Azhar to allow motions put forward by Port Dickson MP Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PH) and Beruas MP Ngeh Koo Ham (PH).
Azhar had previously rejected motions from Anwar and Ngeh, who called for a debate on the emergency and its annulment.
5. Emergency Ordinances were revoked since 21 July
The de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan said that the King will not be advised to extend the Proclamation of Emergency which is ending this month. Nonetheless, he revealed that the government had all six Emergency Ordinances that have been promulgated during this period.
Unexpectedly, he said the decision to revoke the Ordinance was decided during a Cabinet meeting on 21 July but it was not made public until today.
“Because the ordinances have been revoked, then the issue of annulment is no longer relevant.” he said.
He then revealed why the Ordinances were not included in the Parliament agenda to be debated by MPs after the Opposition leader Anwar questioned him.
The 2 Emergency Ordinances include Emergency (Essential Powers) (No 2) Ordinance 2021 allows the authorities to penalise fake news and Emergency (Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases)(Amendment) Ordinance 2021 allows for a penalty of up to RM100,000 and seven years’ jail for breaching COVID-19 protocol.
Following the revocation, Takiyuddin said the Ordinances promulgated this year will no longer be applicable after 21 July.
Meanwhile, Anwar criticised him for the ‘pasar malam (night market)’ style of the revocation of the Emergency Ordinances.
“They cannot say ‘Today we are declaring Emergency’. Then, the next sitting say ‘We cancelled it last week’.” Anwar said.
In addition, he also questioned whether the King had been informed of this revocation, else it will be “an insult towards the Malay rulers, especially the Agong”.
That summarises all of the happenings in the Day 1 of the Parliament sitting. What do you think about this? Share your thoughts!
Watch the morning and afternoon session of the Parliament sitting here: