No notice, no delay, lawyer says on new Dewan Rakyat date

PETALING JAYA: A lawyer says postponing the Dewan Rakyat sitting from March 9 to May 18 is against the Standing Orders as the new prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, must comply with the notice period of 28 days as required under Order 11 (3).

“Therefore under these circumstances, the prime minister cannot invoke Order 11,” GK Ganesan said in a blog post.

“He has not given 28 days of notice. He cannot, it is impossible,” he said, adding that Muhyiddin only took office on March 1, eight days before the house was scheduled to convene.

He was responding to a Berita Harian report today quoting speaker Mohd Ariff Md Yusof on the postponement of the Dewan Rakyat sitting.

Ariff was quoted as saying he had received a letter on the new date last night.

His statement followed speculation that Parliament meetings would be postponed until Muhyiddin had mustered a sufficient majority in the House to counter any vote of no confidence against him.

Ariff previously said he would communicate with Muhyiddin about whether the sitting would proceed according to schedule or be postponed following the change in government.

Ganesan said the March 9 date had been determined by the previous prime minister and proclaimed by the king.

“It has been gazetted and published. Order 11 (1) has been complied with,” he said, adding that this could not be changed willy-nilly by a new prime minister who came into power in the interim.

He also spoke of the 14th general election on May 9, 2018, in which he said the public had given the electoral mandate to Pakatan Harapan. He said every MP on the side of the current government appeared to have overlooked this.

“To use that mandate to preserve one’s position, it seems to me, is not to act ‘in the best interest of the public'”, he added.

Muhyiddin leads a new coalition government following the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government last Monday with the support of PPBM, Barisan Nasional, PAS, GPS and individual MPs.