September 16, 2021 House of Trust

Annulment of emergency ordinances must be tabled and voted upon immediately

We, the undersigned civil society groups, call upon the government and the Speaker of the House of Representatives to allow MPs to present, debate and vote on a motion to annul the six emergency ordinances before the sitting ends on Monday, 2 August, so that the Senate may complete the annulment in its sitting from Tuesday, 3 August to Thursday, 5 August.

In the unprecedentedly direct rebuke by the Palace, the alleged revocation of emergency ordinances on 21 July by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Takiyuddin Hassan on Monday, 26 July is now confirmed to be “inaccurate and misleading to the Members of Dewan Rakyat” by the palace. It is now revealed that in the online audience on Saturday, 24 July granted to both the minister and Attorney General Idrus Harun, the palace did not consent to the revocation but recommended that the emergency ordinances be tabled and debated for annulment.

The Speaker, Azhar Azizan Harun, or whichever of his deputies who presides over the meeting, must invoke Standing Orders 90 and 100 together with Standing Order 26(1)(m) to assert the House’s overriding authority and control over its own business, so that a motion to annul the emergency ordinances may be presented, debated and voted on immediately. The Speaker’s earlier ruling for Takiyuddin Hassan to explain the matter is now invalid by circumstance.

Regardless of any change to the government and any of its ministers and senior officials, the annulment of emergency ordinances must be made the first item of the agenda from now on. The emergency ordinances must be annulled so that there is no doubt they will not remain in force until 1 February 2022, for six more months after the lapse of the emergency proclamation on 1 August under Article 150(7) of the Federal Constitution.

Amongst them, Emergency Ordinance No. 6 carries compounds of RM10,000 and RM50,000 for a violation of the standard operating procedure, while Emergency Ordinance No. 2 carries a maximum penalty of six years’ imprisonment and a fine of RM500,000 for a fake-news-related offence. These emergency ordinances, as the emergency proclamation itself, were made when the Parliament was not in session. The emergency ordinances must be debated and annulled in this sitting and not postponed to the next sitting in September.

We also support the motion by Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo to refer Minister Takiyuddin Hassan to the Committee of Privileges for his unfounded claim of the revocation of the emergency ordinances. The Speaker, or his deputies who preside over the meeting, must not taint the august House with more partisan and unprofessional rulings. The Speaker’s conduct in these four days has marked a phenomenally low point even by the diminished standards of the House since last July.

This statement is initiated by the Seed Community for a Professional Parliament, a network of individuals active in civil society organisations, think tanks and academia working towards a professional Parliament that facilitates healthy policy competition between parties.

Signed by:

  1. Gabungan Pilihan Raya Bersih dan Adil (Bersih 2.0)
  2. Engage
  3. Bait Al-Amanah
  4. Institute for Political Reform and Democracy (Reform)
  5. Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas)
  6. Persatuan Pengundi Muda (Undi18)
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