GEORGE TOWN: Lawyer Andrew Khoo said the call for the emergency not to be extended by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong today was unprecedented and most likely took into account the views from other Malay Rulers.
He added that the Rulers would have highlighted the many issues facing the country, including the lifting of the suspension of state assemblies so as to perform their vital roles as check and balance on the state governments.
“Their royal highnesses have stated that they see no need for the emergency to be extended beyond Aug 1. This is an unprecedented course of action taken by them,” he said.
Khoo, who is the co-chair of the Bar Council’s Constitutional Law Committee, said the King’s request for Parliament to reconvene also represented “the collective wisdom of the nation”.
He said the prime minister and his government would do well not to overlook what was stated by the King or “ignore it at their own peril”.
He added, however, that while the Rulers were correct in highlighting the importance of Parliament, they also seemed to understand that it was not their constitutional position to tell the prime minister and the government of the day what to do.
“Parliament is the rightful venue where discussions on matters of extreme national importance must take place. The statement from Istana Negara is clear that the government needs to fulfil its duty to ensure the voices of Malaysians, represented by their MPs, must be heard.
“Reading between the lines, this is something that needs to be done now rather than some time later. There isn’t just one exit ramp off the highway,” Khoo said.
“While vaccinations must continue and be speeded up to achieve herd immunity, other avenues for national economic recovery must also be simultaneously pursued.”
Earlier today, the King, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, said he wanted Parliament to reconvene as soon as possible.
In a statement, Comptroller of the Royal Household Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin said the King was aware of Parliament’s important role in discussing issues involving Covid-19.
This was followed by another joint statement by the Malay Rulers that there was no need for the nation to remain under a state of emergency after Aug 1.
In a statement, Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal Syed Danial Syed Ahmad said the Rulers acknowledged the health and economic crises the pandemic caused, as well as the volatile political situation and growing disunity among the people.
“The political climate which is heating up must be calmed down. A stable government that holds the confidence and majority support of the people is important.
“There is no need for the nation to be placed under a state of emergency after Aug 1,” he said.