Ending emergency: Deputy speaker tells minister to stop shifting goalposts

If cabinet will advise the king, what’s the point of the independent special committee, asks Azalina Othman.

Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker Azalina Othman Said has criticised de facto law minister Takiyuddin Hassan over the latter’s remarks that the cabinet will advise the king on whether or not to extend the emergency.

Azalina, who is a former law minister, said the government should not shift the goalposts on when the emergency will end.

“If that’s the case (that the cabinet will advise the king), what’s the point of forming an Independent Special Committee to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong under Section 2(1) of the Emergency Ordinance 2021?

“Stop shifting the goalposts!” she said in a tweet, which tagged Takiyuddin.

Under Section 2(1) of the ordinance, the 19-member independent committee has one job – to advise the Agong on when the emergency should end.

However, the committee has been secretive with its chairperson Arifin Zakaria saying their reports are for the king’s eyes only.

Lawyer Haniff Khatri, meanwhile, argued that since the committee’s role was enshrined in the Emergency Ordinance, the government had shifted responsibility to advise the king on extending the emergency away from the cabinet to the committee.

“As such, Takiyuddin is advised to adhere to Section 2(1) of the Emergency Ordinance.

“As law minister, he is also responsible for ensuring the Muhyiddin Yassin government does not interfere with the emergency period which is the duty of the independent committee,” he said.

The emergency is tentatively set to end on Aug 1.

Takiyuddin had remarked on the cabinet’s role to advise on the end date in response to Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

Noor Hisham was cited by Malay Mail as saying that the king had discretion over the end date for the emergency.

Prior to the January emergency declaration, the king had in October last year rejected a bid by the government to declare an emergency.

MALAYSIAKINI

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