Spotlight now on PM after speakers suggest special Parliament sitting before Aug 1

The spotlight is now on Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin following the suggestion by Dewan Negara president and Dewan Rakyat speaker for a special Parliament sitting be held before Aug 1.

In a joint statement today, Senate president Tan Sri Rais Yatim and Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had decreed for Parliament to reconvene before Aug 1.

This was following their meeting with Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah at Istana Negara yesterday. The two were joined by Dewan Negara deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Ali Mohamad and Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speakers Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said and Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon.

“Both the Senate president and the Dewan Rakyat Speaker and the deputies are committed and ready for Parliament to reconvene as decreed by the Agong,” the statement read.

“The prime minister has been informed of the Agong’s decree and it is suggested to the prime minister that a special Parliament sitting takes place before Aug 1, in accordance with the existing laws.”

The Agong, in a statement yesterday, reiterated the need for Parliament to reopen as soon as possible. Al-Sultan Abdullah’s statement on Tuesday, concerning the reopening of Parliament, was his third this year.

Despite the country being in a state of emergency, the Agong had in February, said Parliament could resume. The emergency is scheduled to end on Aug 1.

On June 16, Al-Sultan Abdullah repeated his call for Parliament to reopen after chairing a special meeting with the Malay rulers at Istana Negara.

Last Friday, Attorney-General Tan Sri Idrus Harun said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong must act on the advice of the Cabinet in exercising his power to convene Parliament as provided for by the Federal Constitution. He added the emergency ordinance did not nullify this requirement.

Meanwhile, this morning’s pre-cabinet meeting between Al-Sultan Abdullah and Muhyiddin had to be cancelled. A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said Muhyiddin, who was suffering from diarrhoea, was admitted to a hospital in Kuala Lumpur today.

Separately, coordinating minister for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Khairy Jamaluddin said Parliament staff had begun receiving their vaccinations today.

Khairy said 400 Parliament staff members who would be getting their vaccines included officials, cleaners, and cooks.

Khairy said the exercise was part of the government’s preparations for the reopening of Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara.

He added MPs had also been told that their respective staff could also be vaccinated along with Parliament staff members.

Here are Twentytwo13’s news highlights today.

MP ADMITS DURIAN VIDEO WAS AT RECENT EVENT, APOLOGISES FOR MISTAKE

Batu Pahat MP Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon has admitted that a video of him eating durian at a farm in Batu Pahat was recorded at a recent event.

In a statement today, Mohd Rashid explained he had been hearing grouses from vegetable and fruit farmers who had been finding it hard to sell their produce since the first Movement Control Order (MCO) last year.

“After scrutinising the video, it was taken during my recent visit to a durian farm that had been affected by the latest MCO,” said Mohd Rashid.

“It also happened that Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin was also in Batu Pahat for a working visit. As such, we presented some durians to her and her entourage,” he explained.

Mohd Rashid, who is also Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker, said after Zuraida left, he was taken to a durian farm to listen to the farmers’ grouses.

“When I arrived at the farm, the farmers served durians while discussing their problems and the type of assistance that could be channelled. I left for Kuala Lumpur as soon as discussions ended,” he said.

“I apologise for this mistake and will leave the matter with the police,” he added.

Yesterday, police said they would call him up to help with investigations after a video allegedly showing him eating durians with a group of people at a farm made its rounds.

TWO MILLION PFIZER, AZ VACCINES ARRIVING THIS WEEK

Coordinating Minister for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme Khairy Jamaluddin said Malaysia will receive a donation of two million Covid-19 vaccines from Japan and the United States this week.

Khairy said one million AstraZeneca vaccines will arrive tomorrow and one million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will arrive from the US on Friday. The vaccines would be included as part of the nation’s main immunisation programme.

Malaysia recorded 6,276 new Covid-19 cases today, bringing the cumulative total to 751,979.

Separately, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said as of yesterday, a total of 7,824,912 doses of Covid-19 vaccines had been administered nationwide.

SUHAKAM CALLS FOR REVIVAL OF SUICIDE REGISTRY

Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has called for the revival of the National Suicide Registry Malaysia, following the increase in suicide cases in the country.

The group said the information in the registry that was set up in 2007 would help in policymaking and in the creation of long-term solutions to prevent suicides.

“From a rights perspective, it is Suhaham’s view that health services, especially mental health support, must be made available to those in need, especially anyone who may be having suicidal thoughts.

“Equal access to timely and appropriate care and assistance should be provided to those most vulnerable, including children, the poor, the downtrodden and marginalised, as what would be afforded to the general Malaysian society,” the statement read.

The group said while the prevalence of suicides is typically attributed to mental health issues, social isolation and financial distress can exacerbate existing suicidal tendencies.