Letter to edtior
THERE is so much heigh-ho from Snow White’s seven dwarfs about the imminent collapse of the unity government.
Grumpy may say that he was not involved in the Dubai Move but very few people would believe him especially after an audio recording was exposed showing the link to former two-term premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Well, the nonagenarian can say anything he likes. His one-liners – “I do not have much money” or “I was not involved in the Sheraton Move” – have been heard too many times that most netizens are no longer going to believe him anymore.
We also hear that he was “not” involved in the toppling of Bapa Malaysia Tunku Abdul Rahman but didn’t the country’s first prime minister (PM) reveal the truth himself?
Or the Memali incident in 1985 which left 14 villagers and four policemen dead; surely, Dr Mahathir had no knowledge of it because he was overseas. If that is not enough, everyone also knows he was “not” involved in the arrest of current Pm Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim or had him being bashed up by a former top cop.
Tell us anything but it is easier to believe that it was the roaches that came out with the idea of the Dubai Move than to believe that Dr Mahathir was not involved. In short, even if he denies it a thousand times, most people would not believe him.
Agong’s discretion is constitutional
Most people are unaware that, based on Section 40 (2) of the Federal Constitution, appointment of the PM is at the “discretion of the Agong”. This is the prerogative of the Agong which is enshrined in the Federal Constitution. Politicians are unwilling to acknowledge this.
Perhaps, we may witness for the first time the Agong exercise the powers that are vested in him. As recent as last year, Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar rejected UMNO’s choice of Menteri Besar, thus prompting the naming of a new candidate.
Therefore, it is not surprising if the Pahang ruler had turned down the request made by the Dubai Move plotters to meet him in Dubai. After all, it is the Opposition that failed to heed the Sultan’s admonition during the opening of the Parliament early last year that His Majesty did not wish to witness another change of government.
Section 40 (2) of the Federal Constitution clearly states that:
“The Yang di-Pertuan Agong may act in his discretion in the performance of the following functions, that is to say— (a) the appointment of a Prime Minister; (b) the withholding of consent to a request for the dissolution of Parliament; (c) the requisition of a meeting of the Conference of Rulers concerned solely with the privileges, position, honours and dignities of Their Royal Highnesses, and any action at such a meeting, and in any other case mentioned in this Constitution. (highlighted by this writer in bold to emphasise the points).”
In the event that the government of the day has lost its majority in Parliament, the discretion is still in the hands of the current Agong. With his royal consent, I believe that even a minority government can be formed.
The earlier clause – Section 40 (1) – reads:
“The Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall act in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet or of a Minister acting under the general authority of the Cabinet, except as otherwise provided by this Constitution; but shall be entitled, at his request, to any information concerning the government of the Federation which is available to the Cabinet.”
Furthermore, the subsequent clause in Section 40 (1a) reads:
“In the exercise of his functions under this Constitution or federal law, where the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is to act in accordance with advice, on advice, or after considering advice, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall accept and act in accordance with such advice.”
In the context of Section 40(1), it is unlikely that the Agong will listen to the Opposition except from the cabinet or the minister acting under the authority of the cabinet. In this instance, unless Anwar is absent, he would be the one to advise the Agong.
Reminder to all politicians
As pointed out in another letter to the editor, the reasons why I believe there will not be a change of government are aplenty, especially since the Agong has to take into consideration his fellow brother ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar who will be installed as the next Agong come Jan 31.
Sultan Abdullah would also not want a change of government as it would only mean that the next PM would be the fifth during his tenure as Agong. This is equivalent to the country having a new PM every year! This is also not good for the political stability of the country which foreign investors will be watching closely.
Politicians should be mindful of the second tenet in the National Principles: “Loyalty to the King and Country”. It’s about placing the country above your political agenda.
Common sense tells us that Grumpy’s grumble is unlikely going to change the situation unless the Agong gives his royal consent, which is highly unlikely. – Jan 07, 2024
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.