KUCHING, Mar 28: It is constitutional for Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to announce the stimulus package dubbed ‘Pakej Prihatin’ without the approval of Parliament, opined former Parliament Deputy Speaker Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.
“It is however, empirical to note that, in certain emergency situations, for example as we are now, facing the Covid-19 outbreak and the country is currently being under a Movement Restriction Order (MCO), Parliament cannot be called to convene due to parliamentary procedure and the congregation of hundreds of parliamentarians, officers, aides at Parliament which is contrary to MCO to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“This resulting it impossible to table the emergency economic stimulus package to be debated or discussed to seek Parliament approval,” Wan Junaidi said in a statement issued today.
He was commenting on certain quarters who questioned the move as they claimed that the government was spending RM250 billion without the approval from Parliament.
Wan Junaidi, who is also the Minister of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives reiterated that while Parliament could not be called to convene, it was the responsibility of the executive branch of the government to ensure that the wellbeing of the country and its people must be given upmost priority.
He stressed that the current government must also be well aware of the harsh situation faced by the industry and businesses, thus to maintain and help the economy, action must be taken to ensure that the economy of the country will be able to endure.
“With the power that is vested to the prime minister and his cabinet, the government made a decision under the purview of Article 39 of the Federal Constitution, that it can make such decision on the right to govern and the right to spend a certain amount of funds before being tabled and approved by Parliament.
“This particular spending can be remedied by the tabling a supplementary budget, in the next Parliamentary session that is to be held on May 2020,” he explained.
Wan Junaidi however, admitted that although there was no previous record on such colossal amount in the supplementary budget, the government had to address various needs and requirement in the stimulus package.
“Thus, RM250 billion budget was considered adequate within the government capacity to spent in order to sustain the country’s economy and to help the people in needs,” he said.
Citing Article 39 of the Federal Constitution, Wan Junaidi said, under the power of the executive branch, the prime minister is duty bound to address the problems the country is facing either using existing fund or consolidated funds, in facing emergency-like situation like what the country is facing now.
“This practice of Supplementary Budget has long been practiced by other commonwealth countries, under certain circumstances where the government has to spend fast without parliamentary approval. Nevertheless the government can introduce a Supplementary Budget Bill in the forthcoming parliament session.
“(Renounced English lawyer and judge) Lord Denning once said, ‘There is the time when the legal theory can be superseded by practical politic’. Perhaps, the current situation faced by our country, is the situation where practical politics prevail,” added Wan Junaidi.—DayakDaily