Will the prime minister advise the Agong on the special sitting of Parliament?

In our excitement over news of the special sitting of Parliament for five days starting July 26, we may have overlooked the opening statement of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) announcement dated July 5.

It reads as follow:

“Kerajaan telah bersetuju untuk menasihati Seri Paduka Baginda Yang diPertuan Agong supaya Mesyuarat Khas Penggal Ketiga Parlimen Keempat Belas diadakan selama 5 hari mulai 26 hingga 29 Julai dan 2 Ogos 2021 bagi Dewan Rakyat dan 3 hari mulai 3 hingga 5 Ogos 2021 bagi Dewan Negara.”

Accordingly, it should translate as follows:

The government has agreed to advise His Royal Highness the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong that a Special Meeting of the Third Session of the Fourteenth Parliament be held for five days from July 26 to July 29 and August 2, 2021 for the Dewan Rakyat and for three days from August 3 to August 5, 2021 for the Dewan Negara.

With due respect, the Malay Mail’s translation that the government “has agreed to act on the advice of His Royal Highness the Agong so that a Special Third Parliamentary Proceeding of the 14th Term” is inaccurate.

It can be misleading in fact.

A general view of the Parlimen Malaysia sign in Kuala Lumpur November 29, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
A general view of the Parlimen Malaysia sign in Kuala Lumpur November 29, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

As clarified by the Attorney General (AG) on the Agong’s constitutional power to summon Parliament, it is the Cabinet (read: prime minister) who advises the Agong when both houses of Parliament would meet.

“[I]n line with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s power to summon Parliament to meet, which is carried out according to the Cabinet’s advice, the meeting dates for the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara are also determined by the Cabinet,” the AG said.

So, it is constitutionally inaccurate to say that the government has agreed to act on the advice of the Agong.

Be that as it may, we have yet to hear of the Agong summoning Parliament under section 14(b) of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance 2021. Could it be that the prime minister has yet to advise the Agong?

If that is so, will the prime minister advise the Agong in his weekly pre-Cabinet briefing with the latter tomorrow?

We have to be mindful that pursuant to the Agong’s summon of Parliament, the prime minister will have to notify the secretaries of the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara respectively of the business to be set down (Order Paper) for the days Parliament will sit, which in turn has to be circulated to all members of Parliament (MPs).

Strictly speaking, Parliament has yet to be convened or reconvened despite the PMO statement on July 5. This means also that Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s motion as posted on his Facebook yesterday is premature.

If the Agong is to be advised, it should be this week as the Order Paper or Papers have to be prepared and circulated to MPs with the longest notice possible [Standing Order No. 9(2)(a)], as the week after will be Hari Raya AidilAdha.

So again, will the prime minister advise the Agong today?

By : Hafiz Hassan – MALAY MAIL

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Stringer.

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