PAS Youth has rebutted the recent statement by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi on the ineffectiveness of statutory declarations (SDs) to disqualify a Prime Minister (PM) during his tenure as “completely inaccurate”.
Rationalising that SDs are no longer useful for any backdoor change of government after the introduction of the anti-hopping law in 2022, the UMNO president has stated that any decision to switch support for the PM must be made en bloc.
According to Zahid, any change in support for the PM after the anti-party hopping law can only be made on an en bloc basis as he did in the aftermath of the 15th General Election (GE15) with the UMNO-Barisan Nasional (BN) en bloc support of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as PM.
“Zahid’s statement is completely flawed if we consider facts of the case of the five Bersatu MPs who switched their support from the opposition to Anwar,” penned PAS Youth on its Facebook page.
“The proof is that after switching support, the Dewan Rakyat speaker did not declare that they (the five MPs) are considered to have jumped ship but instead confirmed that their action is not tantamount to party hopping.
“Based on this chain of event, the action of government MPs not to support Anwar as PM shouldn’t also be considered as party hopping.”
According to PAS Youth, the validity of SDs to overthrow the government of the day should not be disputed “because the highest court of the country has decided so on Feb 9, 2010 in the case of Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin vs Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir”.
“SDs were also used in 2020 during the appointment of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as the eighth PM to convince the YDPA (Yang di-Pertuan Agong) that Muhyiddin was the MP who in His Majesty’s opinion commanded support of the majority,” argued PAS Youth. “This event has set a precedent that shouldn’t be ignored as a future reference point.”
PAS Youth went on to argue that breaking the party-level agreement (ie via letter of oath or surat akujanji) is one thing while expressing support to any MP other than who the party has decided is another matter “which is the exclusive right of parliamentarians as enshrined in the Federal Constitution”.
Towards this end, PAS Youth pointed to Article 43(2)(a) which states that the YDPA must first appoint a PM from a member of the Dewan Rakyat who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of MPs to preside over the Cabinet.
“As long as this provision is in the Federal Constitution, the right of MPs to express support for any fellow MP as PM will continue to be preserved,” insisted PAS Youth.
“In principle, any by-law not to mention a party-level commitment that is contrary to the Federal Constitution will be considered null and void. In conclusion, the use of SDs and the switch of support is still the right channel to pursue according to the Federal Constitution and democratic principles.” – Jan 10, 2024