Thursday (July 29) was a drama-filled day. It started out as a normal day. I woke up, went for my run and shot some hoops in my mini garden basketball court since I can’t have my weekly game with my buddies anymore (one reminder of our never-ending lockdown).
Then, I checked on the kids who were having online school (another reminder of our never-ending lockdown), and played with the youngest kid who still hasn’t started school (but hopefully will be able to go to physical school once he starts next year).
In the afternoon, my wife and I decided to head out for lunch (within a 10km radius). We ordered some food to be taken away, drove nearby to some bushes by a lake and ate in the car, pretending like we were on a date since we couldn’t dine in at any restaurant (yet another reminder of our never-ending lockdown).
The drama started when we got home after having our lockdown lunch in the car. As soon as I checked the news, I saw that the faeces had hit the fan. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong had released a statement saying that the Perikatan Nasional government had tried to bypass his office on the issue of revoking the emergency ordinances.
The Agong also pointed out that de facto Law Minister Takiyuddin Hassan had ignored his order to table the issue in Parliament for a debate and approval. The king claimed that the minister had misled Parliament on July 26 when he said that the emergency ordinances had already been revoked on July 21.
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim read out the statement from Istana Negara in Parliament and instantly, the Dewan Rakyat burst into chaos. It was reported that there were shouts of ‘derhaka!’ and, of course, the calling for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, Dewan Rakyat speaker Azhar Azizan Harun and Takiyuddin to resign.
A series of adjournments followed, including one where all the MPs were made to take Covid-19 tests. Desperate to find out what was really going on, my wife and I scoured social media for news. Several MPs like Dr Maszlee Malik and Fahmi Fadzil decided to stream live from inside Parliament, so we got a bit of a glimpse.
And at 5.15pm, the session started again. My wife and I got some snacks, made teh tarik and plonked ourselves in front of the TV which was logged on to RTM’s live stream from inside the Dewan Rakyat. We heard the bell ringing, MPs entering and then deputy speaker Rashid Hasnon taking his seat.
We were ready to be down for some cinematic drama! But then, Rashid just announced that since there were two Parliament staff found to be Covid-19 positive, proceedings will be adjourned till Monday. The MPs started shouting and then the audio was cut and everything was silent. A few seconds after that, the video was cut too.
My wife hadn’t even gone through half the packet of her Twisties and I probably only managed to get two sips of my teh tarik. It was such an anti-climax to all the build-up that was happening from the afternoon. My wife and I were obviously disappointed.
It was like queuing up for hours and spending so much money buying tickets to the premiere of The Avengers and then having a lockdown declared and that cinemas are all to be closed indefinitely. Yes! We were really disappointed!
Later that evening, the Prime Minister’s Office released a four-page statement, a response to what had happened. Muhyiddin stands by the actions of Takiyuddin and claimed that it was all done according to the law and did not violate the Federal Constitution.
So, now we see a situation where we have the prime minister at odds with the Agong. Both seem to be claiming different things. We see opposition MPs calling for the prime minister and the cabinet to step down. In fact, Anwar had also submitted a motion of no-confidence in Parliament.
How can this issue be solved? Should it be brought to Parliament where the MPs can debate and make a decision via voting? Or can it be brought to the judiciary and let the courts decide to see what is legit and what is illegitimate? I’m not very sure because in my 43 years of being a Malaysian so far, there has never been a situation like this before.
A number of experts from the legal profession, government practitioners, politicians and political scientists have weighed in on the issue in the media. From what I gather, all the questions that I asked in the above paragraph could be on the table.
But one thing is for sure, my wife and I, and the many ordinary Malaysians have no say in anything and all we can do is watch how everything unfolds as we eat our Twisties and drink teh tarik (if we are so lucky to be able to afford it anymore). What a democracy we have, right?
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