KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA (AP) – Malaysia’s king said that Parliament, which has been suspended under a coronavirus emergency since January, must resume as soon as possible, but stopped short of saying the emergency should end.
The monarch’s comments contrasted with those of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who said a day earlier that Parliament can only reopen if new coronavirus infections fall below 2,000 per day and 40 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated. He predicted that could be in September or October.
King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said he believes Parliament “needs to resume as soon as possible” after consulting with various political leaders, an independent committee advising him on the emergency, and various experts.
He said in a statement issued by the palace that lawmakers should be able to discuss the government’s spending allocations to help citizens in distress and efforts to bolster economic recovery.
Sultan Abdullah approved Muhyiddin’s emergency plan in early January. The plan was slammed by critics as a political ruse to help the embattled prime minister stay in power amid challenges to his leadership.
The emergency, which is due to end August 1, suspends Parliament but includes no other measures. Muhyiddin’s government remains in control and has extraordinary powers to introduce laws without parliamentary approval.
It is unclear if Muhyiddin’s comments on Tuesday were an indication that he plans to seek an extension of the emergency.