Lawyer, activist in bid to declare one-day sitting unconstitutional

The Dewan Rakyat will convene on Monday in a one-day sitting of MPs.

KUALA LUMPUR: A lawyer and social activist have gone to the High Court to seek a declaration that the one-day Dewan Rakyat sitting on Monday is unconstitutional.

R Kengadharan and D Arumugam, who named Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Dewan Rakyat Speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusoff as defendants, said the notice issued to MPs two days ago was against the Federal Constitution and Standing Orders of the house.

They also said it was public knowledge that the opposition intended to pass a motion of no confidence against the prime minister.

The proposal, put forth by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, was accepted by the speaker last week.

However, Ariff later said that the sitting on May 18 would see only the royal address by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the agenda.

He said he was informed of the changes by Muhyiddin.

Kengadharan and Arumugam said cutting short the meeting would prevent the tabling and debate of the motion.

“The meeting on Monday will be a ‘colourable exercise of power’ by the prime minister and his Cabinet,” they said in their affidavit in support sighted by FMT.

Their originating summons was filed by law firm Gunaseelan & Associates today.

Their lawyer T Gunaseelan said the declaration could see the government and Parliament lose their legitimacy.

“All arguments will be fully canvassed in court in due course,” he told FMT.

In their affidavit in support, Kengadharan and Arumugam said the one-day meeting would not fulfil the requirements of Article 55 of the constitution as no other important matters would be discussed, as stated under Order 14(1).

They also said the gathering would not be in line with Article 55, taking into consideration the words “sitting”, “meeting” and “session” under Order 98.

They said Article 55 also states that Parliament must be allowed to carry out its business as stated under Order 14(1).

“As a parliamentary democracy, our Parliament must carry out its functions according to the democratic principles, and Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara members must be allowed to voice their stands without any obstacles.”

They said it was the duty of the prime minister to advise the king to call for a meeting in accordance with Article 55.

“It is also the duty of the speaker to see that the May 18 meeting is in accordance with Article 55 and Orders 11, 12 and 15,” they said.

The May 18 session will be the first time MPs convene in Parliament since the change of government in March following the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan administration.

The Dewan Rakyat was previously scheduled to sit for 15 days from May 18.

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