Malaysia’s king calls for Parliament to reconvene soon

This picture taken on January 11, 2019 shows Tengku Abdullah Shah (centre) walking after a meeting in Kuala Lumpur. (Photo by AFP)
This picture taken on January 11, 2019 shows Tengku Abdullah Shah (centre) walking after a meeting in Kuala Lumpur. (Photo by AFP)

Malaysia’s king has decided that Parliament reconvene as soon as possible despite the ongoing state of emergency. 

The announcement was made last night following several meetings between Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah and politicians at the palace this week, adding that parliament sittings would allow parliamentarians to debate the emergency ordinances and the country’s COVID-19 recovery plan. 

“MPs can discuss the government’s financial allocations aimed at helping the people who are suffering, and for the nation’s economic recovery,” said the statement, which was written by the Comptroller of the Royal Household Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin.

He added: “His majesty gave his view that the government needs to act towards easing bureaucracy and expediting the vaccination process for the people to achieve the goal of 80% herd immunity as soon as possible.”

The king also expressed the need for Malaysia to have a “stable and strong government administration” capable of handling the pandemic and recovering the economy. The royal statement was also released upon briefings to the king by the special emergency committee and experts.

A separate statement by the Keeper of the Rulers’ Seal Syed Danial Syed Ahmad said that there is no need to remain under the state of emergency that was granted by the king in January to contain the spread of the virus in Malaysia. 

Noting the health and economic crises caused by the pandemic, along with growing disunity among the people, the statement said that it was important to prioritize the people’s lives at this moment, through COVID-19 recovery efforts and an inclusive vaccination program.

“The political climate which is heating up must be calmed down. A stable government that holds the confidence and majority support of the people is important,” it said, adding: “There is no need for the nation to be placed under a state of emergency after Aug 1.”

The Rulers also approved of Parliament reconvening as soon as possible to ensure checks and balances across the government, especially when it comes to the country’s expenditures.

The statements came after a special meeting with the Malay Rulers yesterday, chaired by Sultan Abdullah.

The King granted separate audiences to more than a dozen political party leaders over the past few days to discuss the emergency and measures to combat the epidemic in Malaysia. 

During their meetings with the King, some leaders said that they have asked for the state of emergency to be lifted and Parliament to be reconvened, while former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad proposed for a “National Recovery Council,” similar to the Majlis Gerakan Negara, or Mageran, of 1969.

The Mageran then was formed following the May 13 race riots, which erupted after the general election. A state of emergency was declared and a curfew was imposed. It functioned as a caretaker government and sought to restore the rule of law and steer the country towards national reconciliation. It was dissolved in 1971.

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