Agong decrees govt must be strong and stable, Parliament must reconvene immediately

There was plenty of hype ahead of the Malay rulers’ meeting held at Istana Negara this afternoon.

After all, why would Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah grant an audience with political leaders during a total lockdown, and later chair a meeting among his brother rulers?

Following this afternoon’s meeting, Istana Negara issued a statement. Two paragraphs stood out.

“The Agong is of the opinion that Parliament must convene as soon as possible. This is to ensure the Emergency Ordinance and National Recovery Plan can be debated by MPs.”

and;

“The Agong is of the opinion that there must be a stable and strong government, capable of functioning effectively in combating the Covid-19 pandemic and to ensure the nation’s economy recovers.”

Al-Sultan Abdullah said by Parliament reconvening, MPs can discuss the government’s allocations and expenditure to help those in need and to restore Malaysia’s economy.

Even the Malay rulers who attended the meeting highlighted that the nation’s political scenario was unstable, that unity among the people is on the decline and that people were finding it tough to cope with daily life, especially those who have lost their jobs.

In a statement issued by the Keeper of the Ruler’s Seal, Tan Sri Syed Danial Syed Ahmad today, the Malay rulers also agreed with Al-Sultan Abdullah that there should be some check and balance among the executive, legislature and judiciary to ensure a transparent and accountable administration.

In that spirit, the rulers supported, and shared the same view with Al-Sultan Abdullah’s decree, that Parliament should open immediately.

This is the second time the King had asked for Parliament to reconvene. On Feb 24, Al-Sultan Abdullah had said that Parliament could convene during a state of emergency. Yet, it remained suspended.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, during a televised speech after meeting the Agong yesterday, said Parliament could only resume in September or October – but only if the average daily Covid-19 cases dropped to 2,000 and 40 per cent of the population had been vaccinated, among others.

This was Phase Three of the National Recovery Plan, which was also announced yesterday evening.

Many now wonder if the government will backtrack from its plan, as revealed yesterday, to allow Parliament to open as soon as possible – in line with the Agong’s decree.

It also remains unclear if a motion of no confidence against Muhyiddin’s administration, which holds a wafer-thin majority in Parliament, would be tabled if and when the august house reopens.