The Speaker of the House of Representatives (Dewan Rakyat), Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff bin Md Yusof, has stated that he will contact Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to enquire whether the first meeting of the 3rd session of the 14th Parliament, scheduled for 9th March 2020, will proceed or be postponed.
The last sitting of the last session of the House of Representatives was on 5th December 2019. Meanwhile, the last sitting of the last session of the Senate (Dewan Negara) was on 19th December 2019.
Article 55(1) of the Federal Constitution states:
“The Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall from time to time summon Parliament and shall not allow six months to elapse between the last sitting in one session and the date appointed for its first meeting in the next session.”
Some have equivocated “Parliament” in Article 55(1) of the Federal Constitution with the House of Representatives, and concluded that the six months will lapse on 5th June 2020.
However, Article 44 of the Federal Constitution on the Constitution of Parliament states:
“The legislative authority of the Federation shall be vested in a Parliament, which shall consist of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and two Majlis (Houses of Parliament) to be known as the Dewan Negara (Senate) and the Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives).”
In the present case, reading Articles 55(1) and 44 of the Federal Constitution together, it would appear that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (“YDPA“) has to summon Parliament before the expiry of 6 months from the last sitting of the last session of the Senate rather that of the House of Representatives.
The Eleventh Schedule to the Federal Constitution defines “month” to mean calendar month according to the Gregorian calendar.
However, as will be examined below, there are conflicting cases with regard to the calculation of a “month.”