Will Putrajaya continue to drag its feet after Agong’s third call for Parliament to reconvene?

The Yang di-Pertuan Agong, has for the third time, decreed that Parliament be reconvened as soon as possible following a meeting with the Dewan Negara speaker, Dewan Rakyat president, and their deputies, this morning.

Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah granted an audience to Dewan Negara president Tan Sri Rais Yatim, his deputy Datuk Seri Mohamad Ali Mohamad, Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun and his two deputies, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said and Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon, at Istana Negara.

“Following this audience and the special meeting among the Malay rulers on June 16, the Agong is of the opinion that Parliament must reconvene as soon as possible while adhering to the standard operating procedures set by the government and Parliament,” said Comptroller of the Royal Household of Istana Negara, Datuk Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin, in a statement today.

“This will ensure the proclamation of emergency and the emergency ordinances be laid before the Parliament as per Article 150(3) of the Federal Constitution.”

Al-Sultan Abdullah had twice in the past – once in February, and again, on June 16 – said that Parliament could reconvene despite the Emergency. This was after his meeting with the Malay rulers after granting an audience with leaders from political parties days earlier.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, had on June 20 – four days after Al-Sultan Abdullah’s second decree for Parliament to reopen, said a committee comprising representatives from both the government and the opposition had been formed to study key aspects before the august House reconvened.

Even the Malay rulers had, in a statement, called for Parliament to reconvene.

Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar, had on June 23, said he had consented for the state assembly to reconvene on Aug 12. Two days later, Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah consented for the Selangor State Legislative Assembly to convene from Aug 23 to Sept 3.

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.

The statement caught many by surprise and was in fact criticised by several quarters. Pakatan Harapan’s Presidential Council went so far as to call Idrus’ statement a form of “treason”.

Legal experts continue to justify their interpretations of the Federal Constitution. Some argued in favour of the Attorney-General. Others begged to differ.

Following the Agong’s third, and most probably final decree regarding the opening of Parliament, coupled with Idrus’ eyebrow-raising statement, the ball is now in Putrajaya’s court to make the next move.

Here are Twentytwo13’s news highlights today.

DON’T BE SHY, FLY #BENDERAPUTIH IF YOU NEED HELP

If you are in need of food and essentials, raise a white flag outside your home and help will come.

The #benderaputih initiative has gained traction online and via instant messaging services as more Malaysians struggle to make ends meet due to the on-going lockdown.

Described as an initiative by the rakyat for the rakyat, social media users have encouraged those facing difficulty to reach out instead of taking drastic steps that would hurt their loved ones. Several politicians and political parties had jumped on the #benderaputih bandwagon, only to be met with derision.

There has been quite a number of suicide cases reported in recent weeks. Malaysians have endured numerous lockdowns since March last year.

FATHER-SON TEAM NABBED, DRUGS WORTH RM24M SEIZED

A 58-year-old man and his 27-year-old son were arrested by police after 448kg of drugs, worth some RM23.7 million, were found in a Toyota Alphard which they were towing along the East-West Expressway in Gerik on Saturday.

Acting on a tip-off, a team from the Federal Narcotics’ Criminal Investigation Department and Perak police stopped the vehicle and arrested the duo.

They were believed to be involved in a methamphetamine and ketamine drug distribution syndicate in Perak. The drugs seized could supply 2.1 million addicts.

DROP IN HOUSE BREAK-INS DURING MCO

Police have revealed that there has been a 21.2 per cent drop in house break-ins throughout the movement control orders (MCOs).

Bukit Aman CID director Datuk Seri Abd Jalil Hassan, in a statement, said there were 16,452 break-ins reported between March 18, 2020 and yesterday, compared to 20,875 cases recorded over the same 469-day period before the first MCO kicked in.

He added that 5,518 individuals linked to the break-ins had been nabbed during the same period, and 3,572 of those detained were unemployed at the time of their arrest.

LAW FIRMS NOW PART OF ESSENTIAL SERVICES

Law firms can now operate, following a revision of the standard operating procedures (SOP).

In a circular to its members, the Malaysian Bar said the revised SOP confirmed that law firms are recognised as essential services, regardless of area of practice, and were allowed to operate, effective today.

Firms had to apply for the International Trade and Industry Ministry’s Covid-19 Intelligent Management System 3.0 (CIMS 3.0) and that no police permits or approvals were required.

TIOMAN RESORT TURNS INTO COVID-19 VACCINATION CENTRE

The Salang Pusaka Resort in Pulau Tioman now serves as a Covid-19 vaccination centre for over 90 residents living on the island.

Twenty health personnel were assigned to the resort yesterday to administer the Sinovac vaccine to the residents.

The vaccination centre came as a relief to the locals as the nearest health clinic was in Kampung Tekek – a 20-minute boat ride from the island.

Malaysia today recorded 6,437 new Covid-19 cases. Selangor recorded 2,299 cases today followed by Kuala Lumpur (1,361 cases) and Negeri Sembilan (700).

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