Parliament does not have the power to convene by itself without prior notice from the Prime Minister as the Leader of the House, said Malaysia’s Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Mohd Rashid Hasnon.
In addition, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had to give at least 28 days’ notice before the parliamentary session could be held.
Rashid said that any member of Parliament (MP) who wants Parliamentary sessions to resume must make an application to the Leader of the House.
“We still need a letter or at least a notice from the Leader of the House, and all (MPs) have to understand this,” he pointed out.
“Although the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has the power to prorogue (suspend) and reconvene Parliament, he needs to seek advice from the prime minister,” Rashid added.
The statement by the Deputy Speaker attracted criticism from the public.
On Facebook, netizens questioned the 28 days’ notice needed to be given by the prime minister in order for Parliament to convene.
They said 28 days is “too long” and one user questioned if the ministers are “getting paid for doing nothing” for the “waiting period of 28 days”.
Netizens also questioned the relevance of the prime minister’s recent official visit to Saudi Arabia amid demands from people to resume the Parliament sessions.
A number of users commented that they will definitely vote the current government out in the next general election.
Meanwhile, several other users commented on the methods and procedures utilised by the government, implying that the King should have the right to let the Parliament convene as he was the one to approve its suspension.
A few other users said that the rule needs to be “revised and amended in line with the digital age”, and the ministers have to “be smart to figure out ways” for the Parliament to sit.
The King declared a state of Emergency of 12 January due to a spike in reported daily COVID-19 cases, simultaneously suspending parliamentary sessions.
On 25 February, the King, through the National Palace, issued a statement saying that Parliament may convene during the Emergency on a date deemed suitable by him upon the advice of the prime minister.
However, on 3 March, Minister for Parliament and Law in the Prime Minister’s Department, Takiyuddin Hassan said the government will not advise the King to allow Parliament to reconvene during the Emergency period until its expected end date on 1 August.