Malaysia's opposition MPs to attend Parliament despite postponement of special sitting

Monday's session was called off after 11 Covid-19 cases were discovered among Parliament attendees.
Monday's session was called off after 11 Covid-19 cases were discovered among Parliament attendees.PHOTO: MALAYSIA'S DEPARTMENT OF INFORMA

KUALA LUMPUR - All eyes will be on Malaysia's Parliament on Monday (Aug 2) after opposition lawmakers insisted they would still turn up at the Lower House despite the special sitting being postponed by the Muhyiddin Yassin administration, amid an open row between the premier and the palace.

The opposition has decried the adjournment, to an unspecified date, as "ridiculous".

"Opposition MPs from Democratic Action Party (DAP), Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and Parti Amanah Negara will be going to Parliament tomorrow," DAP lawmaker Teo Nie Ching told The Straits Times on Sunday, referring to the component parties of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition.

"Clearly, the Prime Minister is fearful of Parliament debating the King's public statement and that a majority of MPs will express full support for the King against the Prime Minister. Or he is afraid that a majority of MPs will show their loss of confidence in him, following the loss of confidence in his leadership by the King," DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng wrote in a letter to the Malaysiakini news website on Sunday.

"We shall be there tomorrow in Parliament," he added.

Monday's session was called off after 11 Covid-19 cases were discovered among Parliament attendees.

Deputy Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Sunday denied that the postponement was due to politics, insisting it was based on science and health data.

"The Health Ministry issued an advice for Parliament to be adjourned, and we follow (the advice) because this is an issue that involves lives," Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri was quoted as saying by the Bernama news agency.

The move comes amid an open row between Tan Sri Muhyiddin and the King, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah, over the government's unilateral decision to cancel emergency ordinances instead of discussing them in Parliament as directed by the King.

The postponement is seen by government critics as an attempt to scupper calls for the Prime Minister to resign.

Mr Lim said: "When factories are closed because Covid-19 positive cases are detected, the factories reopen after two days and proper sanitisation. Why was sanitisation not done last Friday so that Parliament can reopen on Monday?"

Another opposition MP, Mr Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, who heads the Muda party, tweeted on Saturday: "I will still go to Parliament this Monday. You want to stop me, then stop me. I am not afraid."

The PH presidential council also issued a statement on Saturday indicating that its MPs, who represent 88 of the 222 parliamentary seats, would be there.

"No matter what happens, MPs cannot be stopped from attending Parliament on Monday to fulfil their duties and responsibilities to the people and the country, and fulfil our oaths to defend the Federal Constitution," said the statement, signed by PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu and Mr Lim.