IS THE KING BEING PROPERLY ADVISED?

The latest from the Istana Negara is that the Yang Di Pertuan Agong (YDPA) is to meet with the 114 candidates (all members of parliament in order to ascertain if the number of MP’s given to the YDPA in fact do support Ismail Sabri a contender for the vacant post of Prime Minister (PM).

Why would the YDPA do that? The YDPA has the prerogative power to appoint anyone he believes may have the confidence of the majority in the lower house of Parliament. The constitution does not require YDPA to be convinced that his decision will be correct or that he is required be accurate with his decision in this regard. The YDPA is by convention required to obtain the advise of a responsible minister of his government in such decisions as the appointment of a PM.

There is no place in parliament for members tied to their statutory declarations or sworn obligations to serve one side or the other. To do so or to give it legitimacy is to restrain and to fetter the freedom of choice and independence in decision making by parliamentarians who are sworn to uphold the constitution, the laws of the country, the YDPA and the office they hold. Now how could they achieve that if they are sworn to uphold the interests of a future PM or his party? How could the YDPA poorly advised retain his discretions if he is to stoop to the level of being a captive on an unconstitutional practice of ascertaining who in his discretion is likely to enjoy the confidence of the majority in the lower house. Tea leaf reading is allowed in these circumstances because it is a personal discretion of the YDPA.

Members of parliament are in fact sworn to advance the interests of their respective constituents and not those of their party. They do pledge alliance to their political parties because as a strategy, and out of political necessity, parties are convenient vehicles that serve as a collective of members with their numbers to advance common causes of their collective membership. The constitution does not give recognition to political parties, something not understood by Malaysians and many others elsewhere.

If Anwar or Ismail Sabri were to be appointed by the YDPA to the post of PM, they are not obliged by anyone, their constituents or the YDPA to call for a show of confidence in the incumbent in the office of PM on the floor of parliament in two weeks, three weeks or at all.

There is a procedure that allows for one or more of members of the parliament (even if in a majority) to force a motion of no confidence in the PM or the government. There is ample scope for the speaker to deny that motion. There is even more scope for the government of the day to deny the motion and or to call it off till perhaps one side secures a majority to force such a motion and succeed. Even then members could be sanctioned from the majority side for a number of reasons and their rights and privileges curtailed till such a motion as threatened has evaporated.

Going down this track one understands why it is incumbent on the YDPA to suspend parliament, appoint a firm hand in the position of PM and as commander of the armed forces, put troops on the streets as they have in Sydney and now Melbourne in Australia in order to combat the undisciplined mobs in public who breach the Covid lockdowns and are threatening the lives of others with infection.

The YDPA must show some spine. Otherwise the merry go round of musical chairs will continue to spin with people especially like Anwar Ibrahim threatening stability and encouraging lawlessness with his disturbances every time he inflicts a wound by his own incompetence in the interests of the US.

The YDPA has no business rewarding sedition unless he himself is a republican at heart.

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